Cable Overtakes DBS in DVR Penetration

Cable providers have taken over as the top provider of residential digital-video-recorder service, a crown held by direct-broadcast satellite providers just last year, according to a study released this week by The Carmel Group.

A total of 52% of the penetration of DVRs is now represented by cable operators, with DBS-provided recorders in 38% of DVR homes, according to the study. Cable's DVR penetration is now three in 10 cable homes.

The research report included feedback from 2,586 consumers queried in 2005 and 1,800 questioned in 2006.

The study also identified a significant marketing target: upscale, well-educated women aged 35-54. Research indicated that DVR service appears to be poorly marketed to women generally, and to ethnicities. The majority of DVR users are white men.

The data was drawn from respondents, of whom 76% are currently DVR users. Those who resist DVR service cited cost (42%), viewership that is too low to justify the expense (28%), lack of interest in the technical capabilities of a DVR (18%) and 12% who said their provider doesn't offer DVR service.

Those who do use DVRs said they watch more TV than they did when they didn't have a recorder. Users indicated they are receptive to interactive ads, but that the most effective ads would be customized to the individual. DVR users are also receptive to search for ads for products in which they are interested, the study said.

Based on extrapolations from this study, Carmel estimated that DVRs will be in 46% of television households by 2010, totaling 52.5 million units. Of those 61% will be provided through the cable operators, followed by DBS with 32% of the market, 6% by telephone/video providers and 2% by others like TiVo.