A Tech/Journo/Advertiser Conspiracy?

In a recent story I wrote about Tivo’s new Product Watch advertorial content offering, I referred to a JupiterResearch study on ad-skipping by DVR users: ‘According to the April 2006 JupiterResearch report ‘The DVR Dilemma,’ 53 percent of overall DVR households skip ads, and 20 percent of all U.S. TV households will be using a DVR this year.’

After analyzing the Jupiter study, TVPredictions claims it’s overblown. It especially takes aim at Jupiter’s claim that up to $8 billion in cable and broadcast TV ad revenue could be at risk because of DVR ad-skipping. Evidently, Phillip Swann, TVPredictions.com’s president and publisher, thinks “tech journalists” (I guess I fall into that category), along with research firms like Jupiter, tech companies and advertisers are conspiring to over-hype findings like those presented by Jupiter. Here’s why, according to TVPredictions.com:

* The tech companies (and advertisers) want consumers to think their products are the next big thing or they are having a certain impact.

* The research companies want the tech companies (and advertisers) to buy their research studies. Studies that suggest that products are achieving certain results will get more publicity and more interest from the tech companies.

* The tech journalists want to write stories that seem interesting — and perhaps reinforce their existing biases.

Together, their actions make up a conspiracy.

All I can do is answer for myself as one “tech journalist.” Though I don’t think this is true of all, I know I don’t have a bias regarding how many people skip ads or the impact it might have on traditional TV advertising, or more broadly, the effect it could have on interactive advertising. As they say in retail, “I just work here.” Also, Jupiter is a reputable research firm. I am not a research analyst by trade. The most I can do is consider the source. Note, I did not tout the “$8 billion” point in my story. I don’t remember the exact reason, but I’d guess it was in part because such a claim does seem to be offered for the sake of shock value. However, that doesn’t negate the whole report in my eyes.

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