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DVR Viewing of VP Debate Splits on Party Lines

In the “we need research to tell us this?” category: TV viewers who tuned into Thursday night’s debate between Vice President Joe Biden and Rep. Paul Ryan were most likely to rewatch DVR moments of their guy bashing the other side based on their political leanings, according to an analysis by TiVo.

Across all viewers, the most-watched moment during the debate was the back-and-forth between Biden and Ryan about Mitt Romney’s statements that 47% of Americans have become dependent on government largesse and would vote for Obama “no matter what."

But beyond aggregate figures, the TiVo Research and Analytics group was able to glean insight into which bits viewers of Fox News Channel and MSNBC rewound most often. The company matched voter-registration data with DVR households (anonymously), to analyze viewing among Republicans, Democrats and Independents within age and gender groups.

For example, the Fox News audience (no surprise) contains a higher concentration of households with registered Republicans, indexing at 137. For FNC viewers the top moments included Ryan attacking on the Obama Administration's Middle East policies, especially Iran and Israel, as well as Ryan's accusing Biden of scare tactics on Medicare.

MSNBC, by contrast, overindexes on registered Democrats, with an index of 133. MSNBC viewers were most interested in Biden's repeateded criticisms of Ryan and Romney for their lack of specificity on foreign policy recommendations and Ryan's inability to provide details on tax cuts and domestic spending priorities, especially Medicare and Social Security.

Fox News had the highest number of viewers for the VP debate, with just over 10 million, while MSNBC had 4.38 million, according to Nielsen data.

By the way, after the “47%” exchange, the second-most watched moment overall was Biden’s response to Ryan about the government stimulus package and the fact that Ryan requested funding for two projects for his constituents in Wisconsin: "Any letter you send me, I'll entertain," Biden quipped.

TiVo this summer acquired marketing-research firm TRA for $20 million and renamed it TiVo Research and Analytics. TRA, whose name previously stood for "true ROI (return on investment) accountability," matches up set-top metrics with demographic and household-purchasing data to gauge viewing patterns by different criteria.

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