Just last month the US television networks were telling anyone who would listen that personal video recorders were friend, not foe [WAMN: 18-Nov-05].

They were quoting rafts of research claiming PVRs helped build audiences, and that most viewers used them to watch programs at their leisure rather than to avoid commercials.

However, US media agency Mindshare, part of the WPP Group advertising conglomerate, has just rained on that particular parade.

President of Mindshare Broadcast Jason Maltby says his company's research shows "consumers want to control what they watch and when they watch, but also the ability to avoid commercial placements".

The survey reports that around 90% of PVR owners cited time-shifting capability and nearly 80% mentioned the ability to skip commercials as their favorite features.

The 1,200 strong study also found that a PVR was the top of the media gadget wish list. Twenty-three percent of those polled said they planned to buy one over the next six months, while 20% planned to buy a flat-screen TV. Other high-ranking planned purchases include HDTVs and broadband internet, satellite radio and satellite TV.

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