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Curious About Time Shifting

By Ken Tucci, WBZ-TV
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(credit: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

(credit: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

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Like most of us, I am not always able to watch some of my favorite shows, so I tape them for later.  I am wondering if the networks are able to include the many taped shows in their calculations of viewers.  If they could, perhaps more shows would not be canceled for lack of audience. – Barbara, W. Boylston

  The answer is “yes” if you’re talking about recording a show on a DVR.  And “no” if you’re talking about recording on an old fashioned VCR.

I checked with our ratings guru here at channels 4 & 38 and she tells me that Nielsen Media Research, the company that tracks tv ratings, puts a big emphasis on people who “time shift” using DVR’s.  They include info about people who record a show on a DVR and then watch it within 7 days of the original airing.  Those numbers go towards a show’s ratings which determines its’ popularity as well as the price networks and tv stations charge for commercials.  Nielsen began measuring this in 2006 and estimates that 41.4% of the homes in the US have a DVR.  So people who time shift are very important.

But for VCR recordings….our ratings person says there’s no way to “credit back” VCR viewing.  So a show doesn’t get credit for that kind of time shifting.

I haven’t taken the plunge into DVR’s….have you?  How often do you use it?  Do you skip the commercials when you watch?  And while you’re at it, tell us what you’re curious about.

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