TiVo’s Stop Watch is a relatively new measurement of time-shifted viewing and, far more important, which commercials are least likely to be bypassed. Still, Stop Watch is a bit more than one year old and the findings continue to amuse. Like the SATs, they tell us something, but it’s not clear what that is.

Consider that in June 2008, the ad least likely ads to be fast forwarded by TiVo viewers watching 31 cable nets and the broadcast nets were from (in order): the NCAA, the American Petroleum Institute, Freetriple.Com Credit Report Online, Dicks Sporting Goods, UBS Investment Bank Consumer Service, Meineke Car Care Center, CITGO Petroleum Corp, Heineken Beer, IBM, and Air Heads Pops Candy.

We put that data into Butch the Wonderdog, also known as the CableFAX Content Business supercomputer. In a few seconds Butch spit out the answer we craved. Our composite TV viewer loves the (mostly out of touch) governing body of college sports, quaffs imported beer, sucks lollipops, buys sports equipment, is fascinated by petroleum in many forms, drives an old car, and closely monitors his/her credit score and offshore bank accounts on an IBM computer.

Seriously, the consumer who views only broadcast on TiVo seems a bit more generic than our broadcast and cable viewer. The former’s least fast-forwarded brand in June primetime was a movie trailer for Universal Pictures’ “Hellboy 2: The Golden Army.” Also on the list, in order of least fast forwarded, were: Lincoln autos, Cheerios, “Dark Night” the movie, Yoplait Yogurt, Allstate Auto Insurance, Coppertone Sport Sunscreen, Best Buy, Reclast, a drug administered to fight Paget’s bone disease, and Ace Hardware.

It’s helpful that TiVo tells us that movie trailers tend to enjoy the least amount of fast forwards. It also says Meineke is on the list for the 3rd consecutive month.

Of more interest to cable heads is the fast forward ranking of network promos run in primetime. While all networks, broadcast and cable, find that their promos are fast forwarded often, cable networks’ promos tend to fare better than broadcast pitches, TiVo says. Importantly, TiVo says in June promos were FF-ed less frequently than paid ads by non-networks.

At any rate, the least fast-forwarded broadcast pitch came from NBC, whose promos were FF-ed by timeshifters 44% of the time in June (prime time). The worst on the list was Fox, at, ouch, 63%.

By contrast, ESPN spots were bypassed just 22% of the time. Rounding out the cable list were: CNN (25%), Comedy Central (27%), Nickelodeon (28%) and Toon Disney (28%).

Just to be scientific about these promos, TiVo says FF-ing of network promos is less frequent than paid ads because “network promos often have more advantageous pod positions, are shorter than paid advertising, and are perceived by some viewers as program content not paid advertising.” Oh, that explains it.

The Daily


Pickleball, Anyone? Networks Step Up to Service Line

It makes sense that programmers would want to get in on pickleball given its soaring popularity. But televising matches isn’t without its challenges.

Read the Full Issue
The Skinny is delivered on Tuesday and focuses on the cable profession. You'll stay in the know on the headlines, topics and special issues you value most. Sign Up


Aug 18
Most Powerful Women – 2023Deadline: Aug. 11; Final Deadline: Aug. 18
Full Calendar


Seeking an INDUSTRY JOB?

Hiring? In conjunction with our sister brand, Cynopsis, we are offering hiring managers a deep pool of media-savvy, skilled candidates at a range of experience levels and sectors, The result will be an even more robust industry job board, to help both employers and job seekers.

Contact [email protected] for more information.