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Tivo to track viewing patterns...for a price

Sun, 06/01/2003 - 8:00pm
Jeff Baumgartner

Responding to criticism that the digital video recording concept could eventually spell the end of the traditional television advertising model, Tivo Inc. has unveiled an audience measurement tool designed to provide "second-by-second" analysis of consumer TV viewing patterns.

Tied to that, Tivo will also offer a subscription-based quarterly report of those measurements for programs shown during primetime. Tivo said it developed the report in conjunction with Starcom MediaVest Group, a large media consultancy.

Tivo said the platform will protect consumer privacy and aggregate all consumer data when the company's DVRs make their daily call to Tivo's broadcast center to retrieve programming information.

The first such product, called the Tivo Commercial Viewing Report, numerically ranks viewer retention or "stickiness" of primetime shows on "major" networks. The TCVI ranking, according to Tivo, equals the total audience in "Play" mode during commercial breaks.

In one example, the tool showed that the recent Grammy Awards pulled in a TCVI (Tivo Commercial Viewing Index) of 75, meaning 75 percent of the show's total TV audience stayed in Play mode during the ads. Other recent shows and their TCVI rankings: Fear Factor (58), 20/20 (57), CSI: Miami (46), American Idol (45) and Friends (39).

Tivo wants "to embrace the opportunity to help advertisers and broadcasters better understand the current and future impact of DVR so they can adapt content and advertising strategies to this new medium," said Tivo President Martin Yudkovitz, a former NBC executive.

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