Kirsty Wynn

Kirsty Wynn is a senior reporter at the Herald on Sunday.

Most viewers still want to see shows live

Audrey and Chris Henderson with Lucy, 3, and Dylan, 5. Photo / Jason Dorday
Audrey and Chris Henderson with Lucy, 3, and Dylan, 5. Photo / Jason Dorday

Most TV viewers with the equipment to fast-forward through ads and watch shows at their leisure are still watching shows live.

Trends compiled by Nielsen TAM show most people with devices such as MySky, My Freeview and Tivo still watch shows as they are aired, despite the ability to time-shift and watch them later.

It also found people with recorders watched 7 per cent more TV at peak times than those without the devices.

Nielsen TAM figures show 30 per cent of homes have some type of personal video recorder since they were introduced in 2008.

The traditional Nielsen Peoplemeter, which recorded the viewing habits of a select panel, had been upgraded to take into account PVR use. The time-shift viewing measurement - or people watching shows after their live screentime - was introduced in January this year.

"What people think they do and what they actually do is very different," said Claire Harris from Nielsen TAM. "People don't shift as much as they think they do and things like news and sport hardly ever get shifted."

Households with the devices were "larger and more affluent" than those without and had "better TV equipment".

In all households, 94 per cent of viewing is still done live and, even in homes with a recorder, 84 per cent of viewing is done at the scheduled time - despite people thinking they "never watch anything live". Viewers who watched shows later fell into two categories. The "overnights" who watched the programme on the same day and the "consolidateds" who watched within seven days of the show airing.

Sharon Daly from Sky said scripted dramas were the shows most commonly time-shifted.

"People still want to watch the show as close as they can to the broadcast time - they still want to be part of the water-cooler conversation the next day."

Ratings data was compiled to assist advertising sales, Daly said.

No ads for Audrey

Audrey Henderson swears she hasn't watched an ad on the box since getting MySky a year ago.

With two young children, life in the Henderson household is too busy for commercials. "I don't have time to watch a show for an hour when I can watch it in 45 minutes without the ads," Audrey said.

"Everyone was talking about the 'ghost-chips' ad and I really had no idea what people were talking about because I don't watch ads any more."

Viewing in the household goes against recent Nielsen TAM figures, but the data doesn't take into account those who fast-forward and pause shows. "Most people I know who have MySky fast-forward the ads - why wouldn't you?" Audrey said.

But the amount of TV the Hendersons watch stacked up with Nielsen data which showed an increase in television watched.

- Herald on Sunday

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