The death of the TV advert in the new digital age has been exaggerated, according to a new study of British viewing habits.
Researchers at the London Business School found that people using personal video recorders (PVRs) such as Sky+ are almost as likely to sit through the adverts as people without PVRs, and that some even search for the ads they like.
When PVRs began flying off the shelves last year, industry insiders predicted a cataclysmic impact on the TV advertising industry.
Most Sky+ users were expected to 'time-shift' their viewing, recording programmes to watch later and fast-forwarding through the adverts.
But the researchers, who studied eight PVR-owning English families for up to three weeks, found that fewer than 20 per cent of programmes and 30 per cent of adverts were time-shifted, a much lower proportion than anticipated.
"PVRs have not changed the way most people watch television," Professor Paddy Barwise, who led the study, told vnunet.com.
"It is a great relief for the advertising industry which had been very concerned by the behaviour of early adopters of pre-Sky+ PVRs like Tivo who had tended to time-shift all their viewing and skip any adverts.
"But later adopters, i.e. the huge majority of people, still watch whatever's on the TV and only use the PVR as a back-up if there's nothing on."
The findings have been welcomed by broadcasters, which want to keep advertisers on board by showing them that TV is still a powerful platform.
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