Combating the TiVo Effect: Does the Web Have the Answers?

As personal technology goes, Digital Video Recorders (DVRs) are more than just a replacement for tape-based VCRs: They're a boon to TV watchers and the enemy of the traditional 30-second television advertising spot, for decades the single most powerful and lucrative form of brand advertising.

Devices such as TiVo have long been seen as a disruptive force in the TV advertising space, offering consumers the chance to blast past advertising with a simple click of a button.

The devices are unlikely to represent any kind of death knell for TV spots -- they continue to be a powerful way to deliver a message -- but advertisers seeking to combat the so-called TiVo effect are increasingly borrowing techniques from Web advertising.

From mini-shows to zany commercials that create their own audiences and their own buzz to interactive commercials that invite users to offer feedback, the techniques being used to counter DVR technology often got their start online.

The TiVo effect is just one symptom of a larger trend toward a more fractured media landscape, one where users' attention will be pulled in a thousand directions at once, John Houghton, president of Mobilecast Media told the E-Commerce Times.

Advertisers are also trying to find ways to work within the context of DVRs. TiVo itself sees an opportunity to provide advertisers with new ways to reach audiences and they are often pitched in the same way that online advertising is positioned.

"Traditionally, the viewer of TV commercials had no choice but to watch or get up and leave the room or change channels," said Bruce Kasanoff, president of interactive marketing firm Now Possible. "Online, users can choose not to click ads, but often they do and smart advertisers will look at why that is and steal the things that work."

As video advertising on the Web has proliferated, the best marketers have found what works and what doesn't, Kasanoff added. Traditional 30-second spots that drive home a strong message fall short, while short film-like clips that entertain get strong traction and often draw their own audiences, he explained.

"Good online ads interact with users and let users interact back with them," Kasanoff noted.

Fifty percent of U.S. homes will have DVRs by 2010, according to Forrester Research analyst Josh Bernoff. He added that the devices will soon enter a "hypergrowth" stage and begin to spread to second and third television sets in many homes, dramatically expanding the impact of the commercial-skipping technology.

News source: Tech News World

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