“Give us ads that we’re interested in! – or we skip them” – Tivo viewers

It’s got to be the non-surprise of the century: the reason people don’t like junk mail is “I’m not interested in it” reports Tivo. And if they see a TV advert they find interesting, they’ll make a point of watching it. So: when are we going to start sending people the data they want to see?

The Tivo survey of its audience during the month of May 2008 was reported in Adweek without any attempt to mention targeting.

Tivo’s own PR announcement – by contrast – was gently focused on this. It didn’t actually say that “we shouldn’t show people adverts they don’t want to see” but it did hint at it. Using phrases like “new insights that were unimaginable only a few years ago,” Tracey Scheppach of Tivo subsidiary Starcom said:

“New viewing behaviors revealed by correlations between household demographic, product category and ad fast-forwarding shows that while everyone is fast-forwarding through ads, effective message delivery can help make an ad resonate more. The Power||Watch(TM) ratings service will continually enable us to more accurately measure viewer behavior by specific demographic segments, which in turn can help us adjust our strategy and maximize return for our clients. The future looks promising.”

To a creative or client-focused ad agency exec, this means: “How do we cone people into looking at ads they don’t want to see?” Well, sure; half the skill of really clever creative camapigns is exactly that. Nobody needs brown water with bubbles in it, but advertising has made Coke and Pepsi the brand powers they are. Why would you watch a commercial aimed at tricking you into spending money you should spend on good food, into toxic herbs you burn? Logically, you wouldn’t, but in reality, cigarette adverts continue to confuse the ignorant.

But the lessons learned by the advertising industry may not be the ones Tivo is trying to teach. What Tivo has shown is that yes, people skip adverts – but also, they watch adverts that are relevant to them.

For other screen media, the lesson, surely, has to be: “We need the sort of user data Tivo can offer its advertisers.” We have to find ways of identifying the specific viewer, not just the demographic.

This means that we aren’t just going into DIY stores and showing vids of people buying plant pots and grow-bags, on the vague grounds that they might be the same people. It means we are actually tracking their loyalty cards as individuals, and finding ways of working out which aisle they are pushing the carts down, and predicting what they are likely to need next.

Someone who has purchased drill bits, a saw and rabbit food; do they actually have a rabbit cage already? Maybe they are the sort of person who could be tempted to buy the new, giant, multi-storey rabbit mansion? or a rabbit security system, or even a rabbit cook-book? or planks and wire mesh? Or are they a doting grandmother, ready for adverts about cuddly rabbit toys?

Tivo user data would make sure we knew which person was interested in what. Cellular phone data would give us a fix on where they are, to within ten feet. Loyalty card data would let us know their purchasing patterns as well as their current interests.

The problem of “which adverts do you skip?” for TiVo isn’t a problem! It’s a powerful tool. What we need, sensibly, is a similar tool for other screen media. We need billboards that recognise individual buyers. We need web servers which spot the particular surfer.

It all boils down to grabbing the “privacy” idiom by the neck, and understanding the real differences between genuine intrusiveness, and “providing a helpful service.” And the tools to nip the “adblock” trend in the bud are within our grasp. All we need, frankly, is a few industry leaders with the courage to use them.

Adweek article below:

TiVo: Viewers Skip Fewer ‘Relevant Ads’

July 30, 2008

-By Steve McClellan

NEW YORK TiVo released the first batch of data (covering May 2008) from its new second-by-second commercial audience measurement service, PowerWatch, which company officials said supported the idea that viewers skip fewer ads that they see as relevant to their circumstances.

The data from the service is drawn from a panel of 20,000 volunteer TiVo users and it revealed that all demographic segments time shift and fast-forward through commercials at a high rate. In prime time on the broadcast networks, about 57 percent of all viewing is time shifted and 66 percent of the ads are skipped. For all TV networks (cable and broadcast) across all time periods, about 36 percent of viewing is time shifted and about half the ads are skipped, said Todd Juenger, vp, gm, audience research and measurement, TiVo.

Juenger said that the PowerWatch data debunked the perception that early DVR adopters (TiVo subscribers for more than three years) were heavier ad skippers than more recent converts. There’s no discernable difference in the levels of time shifting or ad skipping between the two groups, he said.

But much of the specific ad skipping varies by demographic. For example, the May PowerWatch data indicated that viewing for children’s skincare products in homes with children under 12 was 37 percent greater than in homes with adults 50-plus. Ads for toys and games had 22 percent more viewing in homes with children under 12. By contrast, political ads had 15 percent more viewing in the homes with adults 50-plus, while ads for hair restoration products and wigs had 10 percent more viewing in those homes.

“If you have an ad that is relevant, you are more likely to pay attention,” said Juenger. “Commercial skipping is not as random as some people think and there are clear differences by demographic group.”

Charter PowerWatch client Starcom agrees. “New viewing behaviors revealed by correlations between household demographic, product category and ad fast-forwarding shows that while everyone is fast-forwarding through ads, effective message delivery can help make an ad resonate more,” said Tracey Scheppach, svp, video innovation director at Starcom.

TiVo press release here:

TiVo Launches Power||Watch(TM) Ratings Service, Teams With Starcom to Release Initial Findings

TiVo Launches Power||Watch(TM) Ratings Service, Teams With Starcom to Release Initial Findings
Posted : Wed, 30 Jul 2008 14:31:08 GMT
Author : TiVo Inc.
Category : Press Release
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– No meaningful difference in Timeshifting or ad fast-forwarding between DVR ‘early adopters’ and more recent TiVo subscribers – – First look at demographic segmentation proves all viewers are fast- forwarding ads at high rates, though specific commercials skipped vary by segment –

ALVISO, Calif. and CHICAGO, July 30 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — TiVo Inc.(Nasdaq: TIVO), the creator of and a leader in advertising solutions andtelevision services for DVRs, and media planning and buying company StarcomUSA, today unveiled the first data from TiVo’s Power||Watch(TM) ratingsservice for the broadcast month of May 2008. TiVo’s Power||Watch(TM) ratingsservice provides advertisers access to second-by-second program and commercialratings data, with demographic segmentations, for 20,000 households who havevolunteered to take part in a “passive” consumer panel — all subscribers haveto do is watch TV, and there are no special logins or separate devices neededto participate.

The Power||Watch(TM) ratings service provides TiVo’s Stop||Watch(TM)ratings service subscribers the ability to look at TV viewing broken down bystandard household demographics including income, geography, ethnicity, numberof children and tenure of TiVo subscriber, among others. Given that these20,000 TiVo subscribers have expressly consented to TiVo’s collection of theirpersonally identifiable viewing information, TiVo can associate household datawith the viewership data then produce program and commercial viewershipreports by aggregate demographic and behavioral audience groups. All reportsprepared by TiVo using this data are anonymous.TiVo’s Power||Watch(TM) ratings service is a companion tool to theStop||Watch(TM) ratings service, which compiles second-by-second behavioraland viewership data from a separate anonymous sample of 20,000 TiVo units. Theinformation is offered via an easily sortable database of ratings fornationally run programs and advertisements from cable and broadcast networksdating back to September 2006.

May 2008 Power||Watch(TM) Ratings Service Highlights

— The Power||Watch(TM) ratings service research indicated that, contraryto popular perception, subscribers who have used the TiVo(R) service for morethan three years, the “early adopters,” are no more likely to avoidcommercials than those who have only been TiVo subscribers for one to threeyears. Essentially, there is no meaningful difference in the amount ofTimeshifted viewing or fast-forwarding between these subscriber groups.

— All demographic segments Timeshift and fast-forward commercials at ahigh rate, although the specific commercials viewers choose to skip varies.For example, there are significant variances in the amount of time householdswith children under 12 spent watching commercials for certain productcategories during Timeshifted viewing compared to households with adults over50.

Todd Juenger, Vice President & General Manager, TiVo Audience Research &Measurement said, “DVRs have changed every aspect of television viewing. Forthe past year and a half, the Stop||Watch(TM) ratings service has helped theindustry better understand how DVRs are impacting viewing behavior, especiallyTimeshifting and commercial fast-forwarding. Nonetheless, questions remainedabout who is watching or fast-forwarding what commercials and how it relatesto household demographics. The Power||Watch(TM) ratings service providesanswers to these questions.”

Product Category Comparison:
Households with Children Under 12 vs. Households with Adults Over 50

More Watched Product Categories: Households with Children Under 12

Average Seconds Viewed in
Timeshifted Mode
HH with HH with
Product Category Children < 12 Adults 50+ Variance
Children’s Skincare Products 18.55 11.64 -37%
Toys & Games 19.82 15.49 -22%
Cakes, Pies, Pastries, Donuts 19.33 15.22 -21%
Computer Games & Educational
Software 28.29 22.60 -20%
Schools & Camps 28.35 22.81 -20%

*Source: Power||Watch Data, May 2008 — All dayparts

More Watched Product Categories: Households with Adults Over 50

Average Seconds Viewed in
Timeshifted Mode
HH with HH with
Product Category Children < 12 Adults 50+ Variance
Political Parties 25.99 29.86 15%
Collectibles, Art & Galleries 30.11 33.40 11%
Hair Restoration Products & Wigs 12.04 13.30 10%
Floor Furniture Polish22.50 23.926%
Foreign Tourism 22.09 23.295%

*Source: Power||Watch Data, May 2008 — All dayparts

“This preliminary look at TiVo’s second-by-second viewing data pointstoward the growing availability of new insights that were unimaginable only afew years ago,” said Tracey Scheppach, Starcom USA SVP/Video InnovationDirector. “New viewing behaviors revealed by correlations between householddemographic, product category and ad fast-forwarding shows that while everyoneis fast-forwarding through ads, effective message delivery can help make an adresonate more. The Power||Watch(TM) ratings service will continually enableus to more accurately measure viewer behavior by specific demographicsegments, which in turn can help us adjust our strategy and maximize returnfor our clients. The future looks promising.”

Starcom was the first media agency to purchase the Stop||Watch(TM) ratingsservice, TiVo’s flagship research product, and assisted TiVo in itsdevelopment of the Power||Watch(TM) ratings service — currently available toall Stop||Watch(TM) ratings service clients. Starcom also purchased theinaugural custom survey of the Power||Watch(TM) ratings service panelists,which will provide viewership segmentations based on responses to client-driven questions. The survey is expected to be fielded later this year.

About TiVo Inc.

Founded in 1997, TiVo (NASDAQ: TIVO) pioneered a brand new category ofproducts with the development of the first commercially available digitalvideo recorder (DVR). Sold through leading consumer electronic retailers andour website, TiVo has developed a brand which resonates boldly with consumersas providing a superior television experience. Through agreements with leadingsatellite and cable providers, TiVo also integrates its DVR service featuresinto the set-top boxes of mass distributors. TiVo’s DVR functionality and easeof use, with such features as Season Pass(TM) recordings and WishList(R)searches and TiVo KidZone, have elevated its popularity among consumers andhave created a whole new way for viewers to watch television. With a continuedinvestment in its patented technologies, TiVo is revolutionizing the wayconsumers watch and access home entertainment. Rapidly becoming the focalpoint of the digital living room, TiVo’s DVR is at the center of experiencingnew forms of content on the TV, such as broadband delivered video, music andphotos. With innovative features, such as TiVoToGo(TM) transfers and onlinescheduling, TiVo is expanding the notion of consumers experiencing “TiVo, TVyour way(R).” The TiVo(R) service is also at the forefront of providinginnovative marketing solutions for the television industry, including a uniqueplatform for advertisers and audience research measurement.

TiVo, ‘TiVo, TV your way.’, Season Pass, WishList, TiVoToGo, Stop||Watch,Power||Watch, and the TiVo Logo are trademarks or registered trademarks ofTiVo Inc. or its subsidiaries worldwide. (C) 2008 TiVo Inc. All rightsreserved. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

About Starcom USA

Starcom (http://www.starcomworldwide.com) is a full-service media divisionof Starcom MediaVest Group, which is ranked one of the largest mediacommunications agencies in the world and encompasses an integrated network ofhighly specialized consumer contact companies. Consistently recognized bythird-party sources as an industry powerhouse, Starcom was named Media Agencyof the Year by Advertising Age two years in a row and Media magazine the lastfive years. Starcom’s organization includes strategic marketing communicationarchitects who are highly specialized in media management, response media,internet and digital communications, as well as multicultural, entertainment,sports sponsorship and event marketing and media. With over 900 employees andover $8 billion in billings in the U.S. alone, Starcom delivers brand-buildingresults for many of the world’s leading companies.



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