The growing threat to the TV ad industry from personal video recorders was underscored earlier this week in a new report published by the New York office of Havas-owned Media Planning Group in association with Nielsen Media Research.

The survey of 310 households owning a digital PVR was conducted June 29 through August 8. It asked informants (aged 12+) about their use of the digital TiVo-style technology – which some in the industry see as the writing on the wall for advertising-funded TV.

Nine out of ten respondents stated they 'always or usually' skip commercials when watching PVR-recorded material. Females are the more likely ad-avoiders, with 69% claiming they 'always' skip the commercials.

Males appear to be more ad-tolerant, slightly fewer (59%) saying they 'always' skip commercials. And although some 45% of respondents believe commercials have the potential to be entertaining, a significantly greater percentage (57%) thought them annoying.

A similar (and more sinister?) trend was evident when watching TV without PVRs, a mere 16% saying they watched commercials. Over half (58% females; 49% males) claim they do something else during commercial breaks. Nearly forty percent (44% females; 33% males) channel hop rather than watch the ads.

PVR sales are steadily increasing and – if they emulate the growth trend of VCRs more than two decades back – could soon go exponential.

Warns MPG's Tonya Deniz: "Advertisers are going to need to find a way to connect with consumers through different communication channels working in harmony, or what is currently being called 'Total Communications Planning'."

In addition: "Clients deserve to see greater creativity in terms of television advertising, as well as an increase in targeted advertising that bulls-eyes specific demographics and interest groups."

Data sourced from AdWeek (USA); additional content by WARC staff