Viewers Not Fast-Forwarding Past Ads

A new Nielson study reveals that most people with TiVos are too lazy to fast forward through commercials.

FILED UNDER: Popular Culture, Science & Technology,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Surprisingly like most people with VCRs, another technology that lets you fast forward past the ads.

  2. Anderson says:

    Man, that sounds like a Sinfest strip in the making.

  3. Geez, that’s sad. Although I guess it is good news for advertisers.

  4. I know one should never question the NYT, but I would really like to see the raw data before I believe this.

    First off, they say that half the TV watched starting at the network’s start time. The generational information in the article indicates that younger equals more likely to skip, so any comfort derived by advertisers/broadcasters would die out over time. But lets start with the 40% number.

    Next they say that they watch 40% of the content they could skip over. Is this a second by second share or does watching any part constitute watching that content. In other words, assume four 1 minute commercials in a commercial break. If I watched the first 5 seconds of the first commercial, fast forwarded to the next show segment, rewound to the last five seconds of the last commercial before the show begins and watch that, does that count as having watched 4% or 50% of the content I could have skipped?

    The articles statement that the commercials in the middle getting the least viewing are a key part of why I ask the question. If the middle commercials are viewed less, doesn’t it make sense that a person willing to use the remote to skip the middle commercials will eventually start skipping first and last unless they capture his interest?

    Then there is this: (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.) That sounds a lot like the scenario I described. But would you really watch all the way to the end of the first commercial and then start with the beginning of the end commercial?

  5. Patrick McGuire says:

    What! You can fast-forward through them?

  6. As long as they say “most.” I certainly fastforward through commercials on the handful of shows I record.

  7. McGehee says:

    I confess that if I’m fast-forwarding and catch a glimpse of a commercial that may be interesting, I’ll go back and watch it, then resume with the fast-forward.

    Life is too short to invest an entire hour in watching an hourlong TV show.

  8. Eneils Bailey says:

    I avoid all TV commercials if I can. To be consistent in my TV viewing habits I have now classified the “Girls Gone Wild” infomercial as a wildlife documentary on the life of feral sex kittens.

  9. I have to wonder how much of this is accounted for by such things as live sporting events. I avoid commercials like the plague on all my non-sports shows but end up watching commercials on football, basketball and golf. If a TiVo owner is a baseball fan, imagine all the commercials that could add to the list.