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What are your ABCs of DVR viewing?

House supposedly profits from DVR viewing; but not Jay Leno.

Here are two dueling headlines for you.

"TV Finds That Mortal Foe, DVR, Is a Friend After All" -- Nov. 2nd New York Times story (print version) by Bill Carter.

"NY Times sucked in by Broadcast PR Again, DVR Confusion Awaits" -- rebuttal on tvbythenumbers.com by Bill Gorman.

What's astonishing in Carter's account is the assertion that 46 percent of advertiser-coveted 18-to-49-year-olds supposedly watch the commercials during DVR playback. He cites Nielsen Media Research as the source, with its findings based on viewership of the Big Four broadcast networks -- ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC.

"It's completely counter-intuitive," the Times quotes ABC research president Alan Wurtzel as saying. "But when the facts come in, there they are."

Nielsen doesn't give the networks any DVR ratings boosts unless the commercials are watched. In other words, if you fast-forward through the advertisements, your viewership is discounted in the so-called "commercial plus three" ratings, which measure audiences for shows that are either watched live or played back within three days.

So far this season, the Big Four networks supposedly are averaging a 10 percent increase in ratings when DVR viewing is added. Shows with big DVR viewership -- commercials and all -- include Fox's House and Fringe, ABC's Grey's Anatomy and FlashForward, CBS' How I Met Your Mother and NBC's The Office and Heroes.

"This was going to spell the demise of the network TV model," a representative of a media buying firm tells the Times. "Now they seem to be reveling in it."

So much so that NBC's The Jay Leno Show, initially touted as "DVR-proof" by the network, is now seen as a liability in that regard. That's because hardly anyone is playing it back, resulting in even lower ratings for Leno then he already has.

OK, let's be highly skeptical about all of this. We've got a DVR here at unclebarky.com central. And never once have I played back a show without fast-forwarding through the commercials. Isn't that a bottom-line reason why many people record shows? Not only can you watch them when you want, but you save time by bullet-training through those increasingly lengthy ad breaks.

The Times account says "the behavior that has underpinned television since its inception still persists to a larger degree than expected." Namely, that TV viewing is a "passive activity" in which sitting through commercials remains somewhat ingrained. Or says Fox programming executive Preston Beckman, "Sometimes you just forget" to hit the fast-forward button.

I never forget. Although if nature calls, commercials sometimes are left running in the interim.

DVR penetration supposedly has grown to 33 percent of households, up from 28 percent a year ago. And those percentages will only increase. So here are a few choices for you, with your comments welcomed and appreciated.

A. I don't have DVR, VCR, TiVo or any of that stuff. Watching TV shows at their appointed times is still the way I roll.

B. I watch a lot of programs via DVR, and almost always fast-forward through the commercials. Why wouldn't you?

C. DVR increasingly is the way to go, but I regularly sit through the commercials. Some of them are pretty entertaining, and I like to look at the network promos, too. Besides, what's the hurry?

D. What a crock. There's no way that 46 percent of DVR users actually watch those commercials. The Times should know better than to be sucked in by all of this.

Let's hear from you.