New TiVo service to measure its ad-zapping fallout

After years of helping TV viewers skip past ads, TiVo unveils an initiative Wednesday that will enable Madison Avenue to measure the damage. And, in the process, it is taking on longtime TV viewer tracker Nielsen Media Research in trying to quantify the impact of TV commercials.

This sounds like a good thing to me. I don’t think advertising is fundamentally a bad thing, I just think most ads are terrible and there are too many. If this data helps create more ads people want to watch, that’s a good thing.

Ah, here’s another article from the NYTimes: TiVo Is Watching When You Don’t Watch, and It Tattles

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  • buran

    I don’t get why they expect that people will stare at something that isn’t what they wanted to see. I don’t want to hear about cleaning products while I’m watching a science documentary; I want science! Tell me something that is related and I might be interested. And do it in an interesting way. Putting products in shows doesn’t bother me as much as I learn of something new and see a character use it (e.g. if I weren’t already a Nikon user I’d know about their digital SLR cameras via CSI).

    I couldn’t care less if they whine that I skip the commercials. They irritate me, I irritate them.

    And you’re right, too damn many ads everywhere. I’m waiting for real billboards to show up in City of Heroes … on one hand it would be more realistic, on the other it would be ad creep and the existing fake ones are hilarious.

  • xforge

    I just want to be sure the advertisers know the ads I **DO** stop, run back and watch, and y’all know there are quite a few, so they’ll y’know, make a lot more ads like that.

    Maybe that way there’ll be a lot fewer screaming-car-dealer ads (and the idiot car dealer in EVERY MARKET NATIONWIDE that thinks it’s clever to use the Ghostbusters theme with the dealer’s name in place of the word “Ghostbusters!!”) and a lot more ads like the ones a year or so ago from VW. I actually saved off the “Mister Blue Sky” ad and the “driving the Cabriolet to a party at night” ad to DVD. Yah, I’m nerdy like that.

  • xforge

    too damn many ads everywhere

    No joke. I just gave up trying to listen to the local Air America Radio affiliate because it’s about 80% advertisements. 12 minutes of ads, five minutes of what I came to hear, break for 8 more minutes of ads (and traffic, and weather, and blah, and yadda), four more minute of talking, break for news, and ads, and traffic, and weather, and God knows what the hell else… y’know, pass. (Plays music from iPod)

  • jonabbey

    Thankfully, Air America lets you pay them ca$h money to download the complete shows from their podcast feeds, sans ads.

    I’m perfectly happy to pay $6 a month for the 50 hours of podcast goodness I get from the Al Franken show, say.

    Media world, more of this, please.

  • jonabbey


    The thing about advertising is, I try to be good, and actually watch the ads because I want to support some of these shows I like so well. Then an ad comes up which is for something that I will never in a million years purchase. Maybe it’s a feminine hygiene product, maybe it’s an ad for satellite internet (I like my low-latency DSL just fine, thanks), but whatever it is, I *know* in my heart of hearts that I will never buy the product, and the ad is therefore completely useless to me.

    On the other hand, those cool “I’m a mac, I’m a PC” ads get rewound and watched for the entertainment value, as do a number of other interesting looking ads.

    I’d probably let the TiVo play throughs ads without fast forwarding a lot faster if I didn’t get assaulted with ads which I’ve already seen 50 times, and which will never convince me to buy anything.

    Hell, I’m not convinced that any TV ads convince me to buy stuff.. I’m much more influenced by the Internet and by friends. Maybe I’m an atypical (or self-deluding) television watcher in this regard?

  • xforge

    if I didn’t get assaulted with ads which I’ve already seen 50 times

    If I have to watch that idiot jump off the plateau to get to his SUV one more time I swear I’m going to go kill something. Preferably an ad exec or SUV manufacturer.

    I have actually gone out and bought a product, once or twice, that I otherwise wouldn’t have just because I liked their ad. I’m a lot more positive about VW for example, because of that Mr. Blue Sky ad. I still think their cars are pretty overpriced, but I like them insofar as I regard car makers. Or such.