TV ratings system tries to track impact of DVRs

One of our recurring areas we look at here is how TV, the dominant medium of politics, is being re-invented.  This year the Nielsen ratings system has implemented a new system to better track the impact of DVRs on tv viewing.  The Times has a story this morning on Nielsen's progress, well worth reading in its entirety. 

An excerpt:

Two weeks into the fall television season, broadcast networks are ensnared in familiar fights over ratings points and demographics. But this year, two new developments have removed much of the meaning from overnight ratings.

One, the increasing use of the digital video recorder, has led to the other: ratings for commercials.

DVR owners like Sara Morrison, a 26-year-old from Los Angeles, are making audience measurement harder for Nielsen Media Research, the company that calculates audiences for networks and advertisers.

“I normally don’t even pay attention to the time slots shows are on,” Ms. Morrison said last week. She almost always fast-forwards through commercials, and because she can record all her favorite comedies and dramas, she hardly ever stumbles upon new shows.

Ms. Morrison’s habits are not commonplace, at least not yet. Most television viewing still occurs live, even in DVR-equipped households, according to Nielsen. But the striking rise in DVR ownership — to 20 percent last month from 9 percent in September 2006 — is permanently altering the television playing field....

Might DVR ownership be at 35-40 percent by next year's election? and what does this mean for politics?  Will half of all voters next year have the ability to skip through TV commercials? It sure looks like thats where we headed.....