The impact of time shifting on TV consumption and ad viewership

Rodrigo Belo, Pedro Ferreira, Miguel Godinho de Matos, Filipa Reis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper we study the impact of time shifting on TV consumption and ad viewership. We analyze the results of a field experiment in which a random sample of “triple-play” households were given a set of premium TV channels broadcasting popular movies and TV shows without commercial breaks. A random subset of these households were given access to these channels with time shifting (automated cloud recording for later viewing or rewinding of broadcasted programs), while the remainder were not. This design allowed us to identify the effects of time shifting on TV consumption. On average, we found that receiving access to the channels with time shifting increased total TV consumption because it increased time-shifted viewership while leaving live viewership unchanged. The increase in the live viewership of these channels was similar to the reduction in the live viewership of the originally available channels, resulting in a net zero effect on live viewership. It appears that time shifting does not change the concentration of live viewership, but it does increase the concentration of total TV viewership, because it is used disproportionately to watch the most popular programs. Finally, we found that time shifting does not change the likelihood of skipping ads during live viewership, suggesting that households do not use time shifting to strategically avoid ads.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3216-3234
Number of pages19
JournalManagement Science
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2019


  • Advertising
  • Randomized experiment
  • Television
  • Time shifting


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