TiVo to Sell Customer Viewing Data

TiVo Inc., the leading maker of digital television recorders, on Monday began offering advertisers and broadcasters second-by-second information on the commercials and shows its users are watching — or skipping.

Digital video recorders let TV viewers record programming onto a hard drive, pause live television and quickly skip commercials. The machines also can study their users' recording habits in order to detect preferences and suggest similar programs the viewers might like. Because the devices periodically connect to TiVo's computer servers to gather programming information, the San Jose-based company can collect detailed viewing data on its 700,000 subscribers.

As in TiVo's previous audience-measurement projects — it found that the Pepsi ad featuring Britney Spears during the 2002 Super Bowl was the most watched commercial — TiVo executives said they will be gathering information only in aggregate, such as by ZIP code. The habits of individual users will remain anonymous. "Our audience measurement capabilities will offer broadcasters and advertisers an unprecedented, detailed look at how viewers consume programming and advertising," said Martin J. Yudkovitz, TiVo's president.

TiVo pioneered digital video recorders in 1999, and was quickly followed by ReplayTV, which does not yet sell viewing data to advertisers.

News source: Yahoo! News

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