TV Finds That a Mortal Foe, the DVR, Is Really a Best Friend –

DVR, Once TV’s Mortal Foe, Helps Ratings

In what may seem a media business version of the Stockholm syndrome, television network executives have fallen in love with a former tormentor: the digital video recorder.

The reason is not simply that more households own DVRs — 33 percent compared with 28 percent at this point in 2008 — helping some marginal shows become hits. It is also that more people seem content to sit through the commercials than networks once thought.

These factors combined mean DVR ratings now add significantly to live ratings and thus to ad revenue.

“The DVR was going to kill television,” said Andy Donchin, director of media investment for the ad agency Carat. “It hasn’t.”


There's a lesson to be learned here: Disruptive technologies, as DVRs are to the traditional TV ecosystem business model, are most often better embraced and harnessed, rather than fought. The results can be surprisingly positive.

Times of change create leverage for shifts in market position. Leader / incumbents all too often see threat, when they should be seeing an opportunity to solidify and extend their positions into another generation of customer experience. This takes courage, confidence and imagination. If mustered however, it brings great reward.

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