Recently, I wrote that the PVR was one of life’s greatest inventions. In terms of its ability to alter our daily / weekly schedules, save time, and time shift, I continue to hold this belief to be true.
From a marketing perspective, the PVR is a nightmare for advertisers who’s media planning and execution revolve around 30 second creative on ‘the tube’. As an early adopter, I am embarrassed to point out that, in our little slice of Bala, we have five PVRs at our disposal. We bought a couple, and then a lovely deal allowed us to ‘rent to own’ three more when we renovated.
Our programming needs and wants are a team effort: a typical assortment of news, shows and sports. Friends know me to be fanatical about PVRs. If you don’t have one, sorry, I truly believe you are missing a boat of some consequence. See above. If your cel phone rings and you miss that all important love scene, or the dog barks, or someone knocks at your door…. you just ‘pause’ the action, and then rewind and re-play. Wonderful. Missed that playoff putt to win? Want to see that touchdown pass again? Missed that puck hitting the crossbar or back of the net? Yup – No probs.
In large populated centers, (i.e. Toronto) you don’t need five units anymore. The technology, as you may know, now allows you to watch with one unit, and go from room to room wherever you have a flat screen and take that show with you. Amazing.
Ok, enough of selling PVR’s. What about selling products ‘around’ PVRs? Have you noticed the transition for advertisers like Canadian Tire and Home Hardware? Home Hardware, after years of advertising on Blue Jays baseball, have finally been rewarded with a winner. What do we see? Transitional, semi-transparent messages produced with text and, often animated, picture overlays on the live background of the sport you are watching. Canadian Tire does it a little differently, but the effect is virtually the same.
Bottom line, you do not typically fast forward through these messages to get to the next sequence of programming, because you don’t want to miss anything! Canadian Tire is well known for their emotional, award winning television creative, but they KNOW the power of the PVR, (“Im just going to get a beer honey”) and that increasingly, audiences are fast forwarding through their wonderful creative and the rest of the muck.
The issue for major advertisers is that this format is very limited in terms of inventory, television production costs are enormous, and finally, you have to be engaged with the medium to be ‘reached’ by a commercial.
No wonder, the television industry is suffering. Not suffering as much as the transformational newspaper business, or, need I say, catalogues like the Yellow Pages. Ouch.
Thank you PVR-man Anthony Wood for being a marital programming problem solver. Because of you, WE, can decide WHEN, we want to watch the news!