Research suggests that 88% of digital video recorder users say they always or almost always fast-forward through adverts, while less than 10% say they rarely or never do so. The findings come from a survey commissioned by Ofcom, the communications regulator in the United Kingdom. They are published as part of its annual state of the nation report on the communications market.

The survey covered only a relatively small sample of 237 users of digital video recorders and was carried out in February and March 2008. The results seem consistent with anecdotal evidence but come with the caveat that self-reported claims do not always correspond to actual observed behaviour.

Thinkbox, which markets television advertising on behalf of major commercial broadcasters in the United Kingdom, reports that commercial impacts are actually up 6% on last year. In the last six months 2.4 billion adverts were seen a day, an average of 42 per person, according to BARB panel figures and only including those viewed at normal speed.

Data from the Skyview panel of over 20,000 Sky homes apparently shows that those with a Sky+ digital video recorder watch 5% more adverts, since they watch more television generally, but no details have been published.

Over 40% of Sky homes have a Sky+ digital video recorder. More than one in five of all homes in the United Kingdom have a digital video recorder of some kind and nearly a quarter of all individuals have access to one. Over half a million Freeview+ devices have been sold, while nearly half a million homes have access to a digital video recorder through Virgin Media, BT Vision or Tiscali.

Television viewing has risen over the last decade, to an average of 3.77 hours a day in the United Kingdom, of which 2.34 hours was spent watching commercial channels. While 17% of those with the internet at home report watching television online at some time, it seems to have had little negative impact on overall television viewing.

The Communications Market 2008 is published by Ofcom and is available from its web site.