CBS: Why we want DVR to be the last option

DVR is here to stay, but CBS is working hard to make sure it’s not the first stop for TV audiences who are not watching their shows live.

“We are aggressively marketing and building our alternatives for people so [DVR] will become less and less of the total audience as time goes on,”┬áDavid Poltrack, chief research officer for CBS, said today during a panel at the Television Critics Association press tour.

Since networks are only given partial ratings credit for the total audience that watches DVR playback beyond three days, Poltrack said the network is “promoting and encouraging” Video on Demand and online viewership. Another reason online is more attractive of an option? “Right now, online, we make more money when someone watches our show than when they watch it live on television and far more than when they watch it on DVR playback,” Poltrack said. (By that, Poltrack meant that advertisers are willing to pay more per viewer for online ads, but overall CBS still makes more from broadcast.)

It’s an uphill battle to be sure. For example CBS’ summer hit Under the Dome premiered earlier this summer to 12 million viewers, with an additional 5.8 million watching via DVR. Video on Demand and online streaming combined accounted for about 2.2 million additional viewers.

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