In 1981, MTV’s first music video was The Buggles’ “Video Killed The Radio Star”. The title of that song could be adapted to ask a more modern question. Is the DVR killing television advertising? Also, can brands successfully use television advertising in the era of the DVR?
I strongly believe that the DVR is not the death knell for TV advertising. Some studies have shown minimal impact. Nevertheless, that is not an excuse to pretend we are living in 1981. Those using television to advertise must take technological advances into consideration when devising plans for using video to promote their brands.
The DVR is not an entirely new paradigm. Rather, it is the evolution of pre-existing concepts. People who want to avoid television commercials will avoid them with or without DVRs. Without a DVR, a person that avoids commercials can mute a program, go to the bathroom during commercial breaks, change the channel to another channel not in commercial, or prepare a meal or snack. Additionally, people have had the ability to record TV shows and watch them at their convenience since circa the late 1970s. A 2001 episode of “That 70s Show” pokes fun at the early TV recording technology. Minutes 4:29-5:38, 8:52-9:45, 16:15-17:35 contain dialogues about early TV recording. However, programming a VCR to record live TV was far more difficult for most people than the DVR. This has made the DVR a bigger force to be reckoned with.