Tag Archives: dvr/pvr

Awaiting Judgement on Platform-Shifting

Lucy Battersby, writing for the Age, continues her coverage of the most important TV news story of the moment.

If you’ll remember back to last year, Optus’s TV Now product reopened the whole time-shifting/personal recording debate with the notion of “platform/location-shifting”.

Justice Rares of the Federal Court understands the implications for future commercial and technological advances and is taking a number of days to put them on the scales:

“All of this [technology], nobody really contemplated it, but the idea is to ensure that there is the balance made between the act and the reality of what people do [in their lives].”

We wait for his judgement and the inevitable High Court appeal.

Read more in the Age.

Lucy Battersby discussed the most recent AFL TV rights agreement on episode 264.

AFL & NRL Threaten TV’s Future

For a group of people who don’t really follow sport all that much, we really do talk about its coverage a lot on Boxcutters. One of the reasons we do this is because sport, traditionally, leads the way in terms of pushing the technology of television.

Optus has a service called “TV Now” that works as a kind of mobile phone PVR for its customers. At the end of last month, the AFL and NRL started questioning the copyright issues related to the service.

Of course, what the two football codes were always worried about was how Optus’s service would affect its deal with Telstra.

Now that question will be for the Federal Court to decide, as Boxcutters friend and Age journo, Lucy Battersby reports:

The Federal Court will tomorrow hold a hearing on a request by Optus to restrain the AFL and NRL from suing it for breach of copyright for its TV Now service, which was launched on July 19. The service allows Optus phone and internet customers to watch AFL games on an effective delay of as little as two minutes.
It could prove to be an important test case for content rights in the era of internet television and multimedia devices.

This is a tough one for TV fans. The Telstra deal was vital for the promotion of portable TV viewing. That is, it was vital until TV Now came out.

The concept of TV Now is nothing short of brilliant and hindsight tells us it was bound to happen. Telstra may have used bad judgement but, more realistically, may have just been unlucky: Bad judgement because it did not do due diligence in researching technologies that would undermine its deal and unlucky because Optus chose this moment to remember that telecommunications is a competitive industry.

What is most confusing here is that the AFL and NRL are defending Telstra in a copyright claim rather than supporting the idea that their games will become available to an even wider audience.

If TV Now is stopped in its tracks, it will not be because Telstra made a bad deal and failed to remember caveat emptor. It will be because AFL and NRL are monsters of greed that don’t care about their fans or the games they represent. As such, it will be a loss to sport and television.

(Yes, we are aware that the title of this post might be a little too dramatic. -Ed.)

Ep 229: Daria, Nelly’s Magic Box

We really say the word “box” about 50 times in this episode. We can be so infantile sometimes. Those are the times we like the best.

We look at Daria as a contender for the Greatest TV Characters of All Time.

Nelly talks about her new PVR.

And there’s some other stuff.

Don’t forget to let us know about your list of the greatest TV characters of all time.

You can also SMS us on 0458 288 837 (0458 CUTTER).

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The DOA Wife?

Longtime Boxcutters listeners will know that I have never been one to watch much live TV. When we started doing this show, I had three video recorders hooked up that I would variously record on or try to work through the previously recorded shows while juggling the physical tape space on multiple VHS tapes. I still have episodes of Jake in Progress and Caroline in the City I’m sure I’ll get to one day… Anyway, I digress… The reason I was a power user level time shifted viewer from way back was so as to have a ready reserve of quality viewing available at a time convenient to me, rather than the time and day convenient to the networks, and to waste less of my life waiting for the show to come back after the ads. With more than 25 years of experience, I’m a veritable guru when it comes to readying the zapping finger over the remote buttons at the first sign of going to a break and getting the right count to come back to normal speed.

So it takes something really special for an advertising campaign to start to piss me off consistently. Congratulations channel 10… You’ve done it. Continue reading “The DOA Wife?” »

IceTV wins its battle with the Nine Network

In a ruling this morning, the High Court of Australia found in favour of IceTV in its appeal over a decision that said the EPG provider was involved in copyright infringement.

The Nine Network originally alleged that IceTV was reproducing a literary work when it published a version of the programming schedule for the network. Since then the case has been playing court tennis with decisions and appeals, a lot of waiting and potentially the chance that Goliath would indeed crush David under a giant sandal.

In a brief interview via Twitter, IceTV said that this decision could possibly open up the market to new players in the EPG space but pointed out that “EPGs are still copyrightable. [The] High Court Ruling didn’t change that.”

The Court’s conclusion was brief: “Any reproduction of the time and title information in the IceGuide was not a reproduction of a substantial part of any of the Weekly Schedules (or the Nine Database).” IceTV were awarded costs.

Read the High Court’s judgement to get into the nitty gritty of the decision.

TiVo are calling for Beta Testers

If you’re interested in testing out the new Australian version of TiVo, they’re currently looking for Beta testers. You will get a TiVo box in your home and will have to do some homework that goes along with it but I’m sure it will be an interesting look at how it’s going to work. It will also give you some say in how it works and that’s always worthwhile.

Go here: http://www.tivo.com.au/testtivo/ to sign up.

If you do get onto the Beta testing programme, please keep us informed. Let us know what does and doesn’t work for you and how it compares to other systems you’ve used or have seen.

fascinating TIVO developments

Very interesting article about how Packer selling up his share in Nine will lead to the free to air networks finally taking on Foxtel as a whole.

Maybe TIVO won’t as doomed as we first thought.

Seven and TiVo have come together to bring the much sought after TiVo service to Australia.

WTF? They should have done this years ago and it seems, from the media release, that it’s only going to be available for free-to-air channels.

Seven Media Group will lead the creation of the digital platform to enable TiVo’s digital video recorder and service, including the award-winning TiVo user interface. The platform will be available for use by other broadcasters and broadband content owners to create a compelling, interactive, free to air digital terrestrial television offering. The TiVo Service will be available across Australia and will include internationally recognized TiVo features like SeasonPass recordings and WishList searches and allow users to access broadband content on their TV.

Honestly, if they were going to do this, why wouldn’t they try to make it a competitor to Foxtel’s IQ? Of course Seven, along with Ten, is still to sign up to digital rebroadcast through Foxtel.

Having two platforms competing for our attention would only be better for the consumers (us) and build uptake of such technologies.

TiVo, in the US, is a subscription-based service but gives its users access to all channels (pay and FTA). Will the people not taking up Foxtel be compelled enough to dive into this? Probably not if the FTA networks aren’t going to produce some amazing content.

Also, it seems to me that a large percentage of the population who would have been the first to take up a TiVo service have already purchased a PVR, built a media centre, download torrents, or have IQ.

PVR ad watching habits

I’m just listening through to the last Boxcutters episode and found I pledged to reference the report on the stats of viewers watching the ads even with the option of skipping on PVR/DVR/TiVo/Fox IQs, so here it is:
From NY Times
Viewers Fast-Forwarding Past Ads? Not Always
People with digital video recorders like TiVo never watch commercials, right?

Add that to the list of urban and suburban myths.

It turns out that a lot of people with digital video recorders are not fast-forwarding and time-shifting as much as advertisers feared. According to new data released yesterday by the Nielsen Company, people who own digital video recorders, or DVRs, still watch, on average, two-thirds of the ads.

One big reason is that many people with DVRs still tune in to watch about half of their shows at the scheduled start time, meaning they must sit through commercials.

And even when people watch recorded shows later, many are not fast-forwarding through the ads. On average, Nielsen found, DVR owners watch 40 percent of commercials that they could skip over ? perhaps because they like ads, don’t mind them or simply can’t be bothered.

“People are actually playing back more of the commercials than we thought,” said Steve Sternberg, executive vice president and director of audience analysis at Magna Global Media Research, an ad-buying agency. “People are buying DVRs not because they want to time-shift all of their viewing and skip all commercials, but because they want to time-shift some of their viewing.”

While the new data may well be fodder for cocktail party chatter, it also has major financial implications. Largely because many advertisers thought that people with DVRs were not watching their ads, they have not been paying for time-shifted viewing on DVRs. Now the networks could use the new information to try to charge more. And advertisers may begin pressing networks to rethink commercial breaks — maybe making them shorter.

People who have DVRs often insist that they never watch commercials, as if skipping commercials is a badge of honor. And while it is true that some DVR owners probably watch no commercials, others never touch the fast-forward button. Most people are probably in the middle of those two extremes.

“That’s part of the reward of taping: being able to zip through the advertisements,” said Marjorie Elson, a 62-year-old psychologist in Maryland. “But sometimes I do watch them ? only if they capture me.”

TiVo has found that its customers view the last commercial in a break the most, followed by the first commercial. (Viewers sometimes do not start fast-forwarding right away, and they often stop a bit early so they do not miss the next part of the show.) Commercials in the middle fare the worst, said Todd Juenger, vice president and general manager for audience research and measurement at TiVo, which serves 4.5 million of the roughly 15 million DVR viewers.

Nielsen announced the data as part of its preparations to release commercial viewing numbers for every TV program, starting in May. Nielsen, which collects data every few seconds through its set-top boxes, added DVR households to its sample in the last year; its commercial ratings data reflects the total time viewers spend watching ads, including viewing of partial ads, rather than whether ads are watched from start to finish. Advertisers spent upward of $70 billion last year for their TV spots ? more than in any other type of media.

“The cable operators that have the subscribers, the programmers who have the content and the marketers have to get ahead of this,” said Curt Hecht, chief digital officer at GM Planworks, the part of the Starcom MediaVest Group that manages General Motors’ ad buying. “They need to figure out how advertising can remain sustainable and effective in the new landscape.”

Advertising and television executives have not yet figured out which DVR owners are more likely to be commercial skippers, though Nielsen has found that younger people generally skip more commercials and time-shift more of their viewing than older people.

Nielsen has also found that commercials are more often watched during playback if the viewer is looking at the show the same day it ran. Commercial viewing drops significantly over time after the original showing. If advertisers start paying for DVR viewing, one question is whether they will pay just when viewers play back shows within a few hours.

Without DVRs, people can, of course, change the channel, leave the room or not pay attention during commercial breaks, but those activities seem to have only a minor effect on ratings during commercials ? only 5 percent, according to Nielsen data.

“DVRs are really the big X factor going forward,” said Brad Adgate, senior vice president for research at Horizon Media, an ad-buying agency. “People’s DVR behavior is going to drive the marketplace.”

DVRs, which were introduced in 1999, are becoming more popular every year, and the cable operators are increasingly offering the feature in new set-top box packages. Analysts say DVRs are now in 12 to 20 percent of households. DVR owners tend to be wealthier and more educated than the average TV owner. DVR owners tend to have more children, and some own more than one DVR.

DVR owners account for about 6 percent of all TV viewing, but that figure is likely to grow, said Tracey Scheppach, vice president and video innovations director at Starcom USA. “Four of five people use the word ‘love’ when they describe this product, and when you have a product that powerful, it is going to become mainstream,” Ms. Scheppach said.

Starcom USA signed on last month to become TiVo’s first customer for a new monthly rating service in which TiVo will sell viewership numbers for commercials and programs seen by its customers. Companies like Nissan have already bought TiVo data to analyze how often their commercials are fast-forwarded. TiVo has long been tracking what its viewers watch, down to the second. But it is just now beginning to develop demographic data, using a panel of customers.

In some households, children are exposed to TV only through DVRs. Patricia Bowen, 35, a commercial property manager in San Antonio, said she liked being able to control what her children watched by programming acceptable shows on the DVR. She said her family liked to stop fast-forwarding during commercials to watch Apple and Geico ads.

“My son doesn’t understand why other people cannot pause their TV when they need to go to the bathroom,” she said.

Advertisers are well aware that coming generations may be DVR users. Visa decided to use brighter colors in its recent ‘Life Takes Visa’ commercials in an effort to get fast-forwarders to stop and watch for a moment, said Susanne Lyons, chief marketing officer for Visa.

“We’re trying to make a bigger-than-live color statement so when you’re flipping through quickly, the color jumps out,” Ms. Lyons said.

But Visa also decided not to advertise on TV at all in its new campaign for Visa Signature, a card for affluent consumers, in part because DVRs tend to be in wealthier households, Ms. Lyons said.

Emma Staples, a 29-year-old sales manager in Knoxville, Tenn., says she fast-forwards the commercials at a slower speed than her husband in case she wants to stop and watch one.

“I like to see what is going on in commercials,” Ms. Staples said. “Sometimes I’ll stop if it’s a preview for a movie I might want to see.”

Advertisers generally do not get to purchase particular positions in commercial breaks, even though it has long been known that the first and last position are best for brand recall. Now, networks may have to consider what happens to advertisers that follow a boring ad.

“If you have a horrible ad in the first position and it just basically drives people away, whose fault is that?” said Alan Wurtzel, president for research at NBC Universal.

Network executives said they had talked to a number of advertisers developing commercials that remain visible even during fast-forwarding. TV networks are testing to see how often DVR users remember ads even when they fast-forward through.

The cable operators are also experimenting with ads shown through video-on-demand and promotions for ads that run along the bottom of screens during TV viewing. Advertisers like Burger King and General Motors have purchased a new offering from TiVo that asks people at the end of shows if they would like to see a commercial.

Network executives said that commercial skipping has been overblown.

“When you talk to an advertiser it is like “Oh god, I’ve got to go on to the Internet because on television these people are fast-forwarding through the commercials,” said David Poltrack, the chief research officer for the CBS Corporation.

Mr. Poltrack also said that the networks had always focused primarily on attracting the most viewers to their programs. As DVRs become more popular, he said, networks will be forced to find ways to keep more people watching commercials.

Katherine Bryant, 29, owns three DVRs ? two in her home in Charleston, S.C., and one in her Oklahoma City apartment. Ms. Bryant, a dentist, said she watched more TV shows than she used to because she no longer had to sit through all the ads.

“Once you have one,” she said, “you can never, ever go back”