TiVo + Audience Measurement = Incomplete Data

July 26, 2006

Headline:

TiVo Launches Audience Research and Measurement (ARM) Division

TiVo to Offer Advertisers Exclusive Second-by-Second Customized Data and Analysis of Advertising Content and Viewer Behavior through Commercial Viewership Reports

For the record, I love TiVo. I own two, though DirecTV tells me they have new non-TiVo boxes on the way to me. I also have two media center PC’s which use TitanTV. TitanTV handles my HD recording and watching. My daughters use TiVo to record Project Runway and then watch the episodes over-and-over. [Note to Dads: if you want a good acid test to measure up a boyfriend, see if he can sit through episode-after-episode of Runway without going nuts.]

TiVo is in a great position to provide audience measurement for their 4.4 million subscribers. What about the other 105 million households? How do you measure them? Aren’t advertisers going to demand real-time data? Aren’t advertisers going to demand actual metrics verses projections? Isn’t advertising moving towards a performance based pricing model, i.e. if the ad does well they pay more and if does poorly they pay less? Yes, yes, yes and yes.

DVR’s will suffer the fate of the 8-track. No question. In the end viewer metrics will come down to connectivity. Focus on a device-centric approach – set-top box or otherwise – and you lose. Metrics, real-time metrics, will come as a result of connectivity. The average consumer technology profile today includes multiple PC’s, a WAP-enabled phone, PDA, digital television(s) and a variety of content sources ranging from over-the-air to cable/satellite to broadband. All of these devices can, or very soon will be able to, get content from each of the content providers the consumer chooses to use. Convergence is upon us and it is happening at the devices. Content is quickly becoming available to all viewers on all devices and all of the time. The metrics are already there…