Thursday, July 27, 2006

TiVo Is Watching When You Don’t Watch, and It Tattles

I thought it would only be a matter of time before DVR providers started capitalizing on datamining the information stored on all those Digital Video Recorders like Tivo that are rapidly becoming ubiquitous in the homes of the viewing public.

This article also mentions efforts to tailor ads to the viewer's interest profile as noted by the types of programming the viewer chooses to record - sort of like Amazon's personal suggestions based on past purchase history. This may not be a bad thing if it means I won't have to sit through the deluge of Bowflex, Levitra, or Enzyte ads any more. My DVR is presently over half full of such educational programs as "The Crusades: The Crescent and the Cross", "The First Chinese Emperor", "Rome: Engineering an Empire", HBO's "Rome" miniseries (which I can erase when my new DVD First Season set arrives August 16), OPB's "The Madness of Henry VIII", and "Command Decisions: Alesia".

I wonder if they have a way to tell if the DVR controller is a woman or a man?

New York Times: "AS the advertising and television industries debate how to measure viewers of shows watched on digital video recorders, the pioneering maker of the recorders, TiVo, is getting into the argument. It is starting a research division to sell data about how its 4.4 million users watch commercials — or, more often, skip them.

The service is based on an analysis of the second-by-second viewing patterns of a nightly sample of 20,000 TiVo users, whose recorders report back to TiVo on what was watched and when.

On average, TiVo has found that its users spend nearly half of their television time watching programs recorded earlier. And viewers of those recorded shows skip about 70 percent of the commercials, said Todd Juenger, TiVo’s vice president for audience research.

But TiVo says that at a more detailed level there are wide variations in the numbers. The new research service, which is intended mainly for advertisers, could help them understand how to get more people to watch recorded commercials, like changing the content of ads or running them during certain kinds of programming.

For example, one study for a consumer packaged goods company, which Mr. Juenger declined to identify, found that commercials featuring animal characters, when shown on animal-related programs, were skipped less often than usual."
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