A new white paper produced by Big Picture estimates that UK advertisers are paying £30 million a year for ads that viewers never see.

The rapid growth of PVRs (personal video recorders) such as Sky+ has enabled a substantial number of TV viewers to avoid TV commercials. The ease of zapping through ads in previously recorded programmes is a key issue, but more significant is that many users of PVRs actually change their viewing behaviour to avoid commercials in ‘live’ viewing. They become ad avoiders.

Simon Andrews, Founding Partner of Big Picture explains “Ad avoiders are a real issue. Once people realise that the PVR captures live TV they choose to start viewing a few minutes into the programme. They rewind to the beginning of the programme and then fast forward through each ad break. By the end of the programme they’ve ‘caught up’ with the programme. In Sky+ households 45% of viewing is timeshifted, but homes with just a VCR watch next to no ‘timeshift’ or recorded programmes. We’ve seen this in our own research and both Starcom in the UK and Lyra in the US report similar findings.”

By reviewing all the key research both here and in the US, Big Picture estimates that advertisers are currently losing around 1% of commercial impacts. Given total UK adspend on commercial TV is over £3 billion that means over £30 million is being wasted right now. And with penetration of PVRs forecast to grow dramatically, this problem is only going to get worse.

But it’s not all bad news for advertisers. Big Picture believe that people are happy to view good ads, and that new approaches where advertisers fund content people choose to view on TV, mobile phone and broadband – including advertiser funded programmes, branded games and consumer generated content- will grow dramatically in the coming years.

Simon Andrews says “We think smart advertisers will respond in two ways – by challenging their agencies to create advertising people enjoy and respect; and by investigating how they can best use the new opportunities of branded content – be that on TV, on the mobile phone or on broadband. Now people have the power to choose whether they give you their attention, advertisers need to earn that attention with content that people want to watch”

For a copy of the White Paper or for more information contact Simon Andrews on 0207 438 4176 or 07973 640556, or by email; simon@bigpictureblog.com

About Big Picture

Big Picture is a new company led by Simon Andrews, formerly a Partner in Delaney Lund Knox Warren & Partners (DLKW) and Founder/Chairman of DLKWs’ award winning digital and below the line subsidiary DLKW Dialogue.
Big Picture specialises in identifying and exploiting the opportunities for branded content on 3 screens; TV, Mobile and the Web. Current projects include an iTV assignment, a branded mobile application, broadband content and an Advertiser Funded TV Series.

Published on: 12:00AM on 21st January 2005