I’ve been noticing something recently, TiVo really seems to be pushing their ratings data service, Stop||Watch. Not necessarily directly, but it seems like there have been a number of direct and indirect marketing moves tied to the service recently.
In January, during CES, they put out a press release about OTT content and recorded TV overtaking Live TV viewing. They reported that, on web-connected units, live viewing was only 38%. And among users who use OTT services like Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Amazon Instant Video it is only 27%. The source for this data? Stop||Watch. That’s a bit of indirect marketing – “Look at what we can do with this data. Imagine what you could do with it.”
Last month they made a direct pitch when they announced the launch of ‘Next Day’ data services in Stop||Watch. Of course, they used the Academy Awards as a ‘hook’ for the announcement, as they released it the next morning and included viewing data from the previous night’s broadcast. Which is a clever marketing move as the popular press doesn’t care about the next day data service, but it got a lot of press because of the Academy Award data that was included.
Last month also saw the announcement of the deal with AT&T AdWorks to incorporate their data into Stop||Watch. Last week we had CEO Tom Rogers’ letter to the editor in The New York Times. And while he never mentioned Stop||Watch by name, it was obviously a stealth pitch for the service.
But that’s not all, over the past few weeks TiVo bloggers at MediaBizBloggers.com have really been beating the drum. MediaBizBloggers’ target audience is made up of industry members, not the general public, so the posts are tailored accordingly. Back on March 5, Jonathan Steuer, TiVo’s Vice President, Audience Research & Measurement, blogged in response to the same NYTimes article on the Modern Family ratings that Tom Rogers’ letter was in response to. It basically says the same thing Rogers said, only in much more detail with the data and graphs to back it up. All of it pulled from Stop||Watch, of course.
Then on Monday Greg DePalma, TiVo’s Vice President of Audience Insights, blogged about marketing executives basing their ad buys on gut feeling and historic behavior patterns instead of hard data. He never mentions Stop||Watch by name, but he does call out“TiVo and other STB data” in making the argument that buying based on the data produces better results for advertisers.
On Wednesday Alex Petrilli, senior manager of audience research at TiVo, blogged a very tongue in cheek post entitled“All I Really Need to Know I Learned from Nielsen“. The whole post is a little bit snarky in a fun way, relating stories about lessons he’s learned via the examples set by others. As in, what not to do so you don’t end up like them after they screw the pooch, as it were.
For example, he snarkily points out how ridiculous Nielsen’s rating system is, in areas such as sample size:
I discovered that 1,200 diaries can accurately represent the viewing of almost seven million people in the San Francisco DMA. Nielsen taught me that 500 household meters will equate to the two million plus households for the same DMA. And when people meters arrived, 800 was the magic number to capture both household and demographic viewership. As far as Nielsen’s NTI sample goes, 21,000 will be sufficient to represent the 114 million U.S. households thank you very much.
He later goes on to, of course, extol the virtues of Stop||Watch:
Thanks Nielsen, lessons learned. Here at TiVo our anonymous daily Stop||Watch sample consists of 350,000 set-top boxes. We also recently signed a licensing deal to incorporate the more than 8 million AT&T U-verse set-top boxes into our system which will significantly increase our sample size. In terms of DVR playback, based on TiVo’s 4th Quarter Stop||Watch data, 44% of all programs viewed were time-shifted. 54.6% on broadcast television and 37.8% on cable. In prime those figures jump to 63.4% for broadcast and 46.5% for cable equating to 56.1% overall. Based on other information I have seen regarding DVR usage, these figures appear more realistic than Nielsen’s 16.7%. But in the end, it is all about sample size, and Nielsen will be the first to tell you they have it covered.
It is nice to see a non-dry tone from a corporate blogger, honestly.
I know there have been other direct and indirect Stop||Watch pitches I’ve encountered, but I think these will suffice. Maybe it is just my unusual travels on the net; I do cover TiVo as a blogger (obviously), so I have various agents scouring the net for TiVo news and I monitor many different sources of TiVo info. But it definitely feels like activity surrounding Stop||Watch has picked up as of late.
End users may wonder what this means for them and really – not much. But services like Stop||Watch are part of TiVo’s diversified business model and success in selling these services is good for TiVo’s overall health. In the longer run, data-based advertising can lead to more meaningful ads. And evidence of problems reaching audiences who time shift can steer advertisers toward TiVo’s related offerings in interactive advertising and on-box promotions.
Lately it feels like TiVo is making a more concerted effort to raise awareness of Stop||Watch among industry decision makers. It has the feeling of an organized marketing push. It is nice to see TiVo being more aggressive in marketing these services. Of course, maybe it is just my skewed perspective.