PVR decoders impacting SA TV habits


PVR households – homes that have and use a personal video recorder to record TV shows - now comprise 3% of all TV households in South Africa. Industry experts describe this growth as "terrific" and believe it is starting to have a significant impact on South African viewers.

"PVR households now comprise 3% of all TV households in South Africa and PVR usage in South Africa is just unbelievable and terrific."

So says Dr Chris Eyre, the managing director of AGB Nielsen Media Research in South Africa.  He was speaking on Thursday to advertisers, media planners, press and industry stakeholders about the growing impact of time-shifted viewing (TSV) in South Africa's television environment.

The top PVR'ed shows in South Africa now include Carte Blanche on M-Net and Kwêla, Binneland and Boer Soek 'n Vrou on kykNET.

"That 3% of PVR households are the top 3% of TV households – very upmarket people, working people - they don't have a lot of time to sit and watch TV, they spend less time watching live television; and they watch a lot of PVR'ed shows they've recorded. They're time-poor and want to watch television when they can,'' says Eyre.

"The interesting thing though, according to the latest research, is that with PVR viewing, commercials don't suffer," he says.  "There is actually a greater viewership of commercials with a PVR. If an advert is bad – the "buy two for one of this thing tomorrow" – it's not watched. However, commercials that are worth watching, that are recorded on a PVR, actually maintain viewership to a large degree.

"Analogue channels like SABC1, SABC2, SABC3 and e.tv do pick up time-shifted viewers on DStv – meaning people record shows on those channels on their DStv PVR and watch it later.

"Those viewers are added back to the original viewership figures, but the gain is smaller than for M-Net and other DStv channels which have a much higher PVR usage," he said.

The latest viewership gain per TV channel in primetime when PVR household viewing or so-called "time-shifted viewing" (TSV) gets added in, now looks as follows:

SABC1 - 2%
SABC2 - 1.4%
SABC3 - 0.7%
e.tv - 1.4%
M-Net - 14.2% (not M-Net analogue; M-Net on DStv)
DStv total combined for other channels - 15.1%

"The growth of PVRs and PVR usage in South Africa is just unbelievable," says Eyre. "PVR use is just going to keep growing – there's no question about that. The longer you have a PVR, the more you use it."