'H50' + DVR = No. 1

CBS CMO George Schweitzer discusses the term Live +7 and how DVR playback factors into a TV show's performance.

We've been saying it for a while now but it's finally starting to sink in: the DVR is good for broadcast television.

Today, demanding schedules have made time-shifted viewing a must-have for millions of Americans. What's amazing is how quickly the adoption spread--in 2006 only 2 percent of homes had DVRs. Today, DVRs are in close to 40 percent of U.S. homes, adding millions of viewers to our audiences every night of the week.


Looking at the programs airing the first three weeks of the season, we see that nine CBS shows picked up more than 2 million viewers when DVR playback was counted.

For those unfamiliar with the term, Live +7 refers to the number of viewers who watch a show live, added to the number of people who watch the DVR playback within seven days of the original airing (hence the name).

Before Live+7 was counted, "Hawaii Five-0" was the No. 1 new show on television. But after Live+7 was included, "Hawaii Five-0" climbed to the top 10 of all shows (joining the ranks of established hits like "NCIS" and "Dancing With the Stars") and has remained there for three consecutive weeks.


In fact, "Hawaii Five-0" is now the most DVR'd show of all time. Its playback audience alone exceeds the population of Chicago That's a lot of people who might not have otherwise seen the show. And it's proof that new platforms can bring additional audiences to entertainment brands.

Time and time again, technology that initially seemed to pose threats to television viewing has turned out to be a friend rather than foe. When people have more access and control, they tend to watch more hit shows, not less, proving that you can't have too much of a good thing.

So to the DVR and all its cousins in circuitry that keep adding minutes to the hours people are already spending watching television, we say mahalo and keep it coming!

About the author

    George Schweitzer's position as chief marketing officer at CBS gives him a unique opportunity not only to observe but also to help shape the ways technology is altering the television industry. A communications major at Boston University who joined CBS after graduation some 30 years ago, George is also an unabashed technology geek who specializes in the latest home automation and entertainment gear.


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