Matt Haughey at PVRblog noticed some new advertising in his TiVo interface. We’ve seen a number of advertising methods on the TiVo boxes in the past – Gold Star promotions on the TiVo Central screen, Record Tag to ‘Press Thumbs Up to Record’ other programs, Product Watch in Music, Photos, Programs & More, Interactive Tags for ‘Press Thumbs Up for More Information’ on ads, Program Placement for ads on the Keep/Delete screen at the end of a program, product Showcase, static images aka billboard ads during fast-forward over commercials, and others, but now it looks like TiVo is placing ads within groups on the Now Playing List.
As you can see in Matt’s screen shots, there is a Gold Star item at the end of the recording group. In his case he has a group for the Winter X Games with three recordings, but there is a fourth item for ’1 Pro. 1 Joe. One epic journey’ which links to a promotional Showcase for an upcoming program for The Taupo 1000. It appears to work in much the same was as Program Placement ads.
Matt is bothered by the new ads, and I think understandably so. I haven’t encountered them yet myself. I’ve been keeping up with my recordings lately, so I don’t have many groups in my NPL, and I suspect it is only triggered when the group fits the current ads seeking placement. However, seeing his screen shots I have a negative reaction to them.
I haven’t had a problem with the other advertising methods, and I’ve even been critical of those who dislike them, so that may seem odd. But it is really an emotional reaction. Ads in other areas of the TiVo UI never bothered me. But somehow the Now Playing List feels different. That’s my area, my recordings. Sure, there are TiVo Suggestions, but even those are based off my viewing habits – and they can be disabled. So seeing the ad in a program group feels a little invasive, in intrusion into personal space.
Intellectually, I realize it probably isn’t that much different from the existing ads. It looks easily ignored, just like the TiVo Central Gold Star promotion. It is at the end of the group, and the gold star makes it easy to tell it isn’t a recording. One thing I’m wondering, that you can’t tell from the image, is how it interacts with group navigation. If I hit ‘Advance’ or ‘Page Down’ to go to the end of the group – does it stop on the last recording, or is the ad selected? I’d hope for the former, but suspect the latter. And what if you view the Program Details screen for a recording and use Chan Up/Down to navigate between the recordings – can you go ‘down’ to the ad, or does it stop on the last recording? I suspect it does stop on the last recording, since the ad isn’t really an item in the group, but rather a shortcut/link to the Showcase.
I accept that advertising is part of the TiVo Service, and important to the future of the company. Subscriptions alone won’t support the company, they need multiple sources of revenue. I understand that and I think the value from the service is more than worth having a few ads. But I’d still rather not see them in the NPL.
What do you think?