TiVo Launches Audience Measurement Effort

There’s a sense in the television industry that the main reason consumers are so interested in DVR platforms like TiVo is not so much that they enable users to easily time-shift programming (and catch their favorite shows even when broadcast schedules change or get unpredictable) but that they enable users to skip advertisements more easily. And why would advertisers want to blow loads of money on television ad placement if an ever-growing percentage of viewers can just jump right over them.

(So the industry is seeking to disable fast-forward and skipping features during ads, unless, maybe, like, viewers pay them a fee to have the feature enabled. Which is a whole ‘nother topic.)

To combat the perception that advertising is ineffective to viewers with DVRs, TiVo today announced it is created its own media metrics unit called TiVo Audience Research and Measurement (ARM). ARM will collect data on TiVo viewership and habits, and offer advertisers and agencies aggregate data and—for the first time—second-by-second analysis or DVR viewing of ad content.

“TiVo’s Commercial Viewership Reports provide advertisers an unrivaled,comprehensive and detailed look at how commercial content is viewed andconsumed on a second-by-second basis,” said Tom Rogers, TiVo’s President and CEO. “Through our unique technology, in households serving 4.4 millionsubscribers, and our close cooperation with advertisers and advertisingagencies, we have developed a research solution that can dramaticallytransform the way advertising is created, bought and delivered toconsumers.”

According to TiVo, the viewership reports will collect aggregate data from 20,000 randomly selected TiVo subscribers per day—which is about twice as many participants as most media-metrics analyses. Nissan and OMD (a consortium including big media buyers like Bank of America, Annheuser-Busch, Visa, and McDonalds) have already signed on as clients. Viewership reports will show the “effectiveness” of advertising by network, genre, time slot, day of week, day-part, and “pod position,” which is the order of a commercial in a larger group of ads. TiVo will also provide information on time-shifting of commercials, indicating if ads are time-shifted by as much as two weeks before they’re seen.

Of course, if the reports prove that TiVo users really don’t watch any ads…this program might be cancelled faster than a Tim Curry sitcom.