Brian Steinberg and Nick Wingfield write: "The same device that helps TV viewers skip commercials will now be prodding them to search for ads. ¶ TiVo Inc. is partnering with several big ad firms to offer its users a system that lets them search for commercials centered around a specific topic. Expected to launch next spring, the feature comes as Madison Avenue is contemplating a number of ways to reach consumers who use technology to avoid traditional advertising. ...¶... TiVo users will be able to set up a profile of products on their television screens by clicking on categories such as automotive or travel or typing in keywords such as "BMW" or "cruises." On a regular basis, TiVo will then download relevant commercials to TiVo recorders over the Internet or, for those users who don't have broadband, send the video via traditional broadcast signals. The commercials will appear on-screen in a folder next to the list of television shows TiVo users record. ¶ Advertisers, in turn, will be able to select the keywords and categories with which they wish to be associated for their ads. TiVo is in discussions with advertising agencies about the best way to price such advertising, but one option is to let advertisers bid on keywords as they do when buying ads on Internet search engines. ... " Link: Wall Street Journal.
Here's the first part of TiVo's press release: "TiVo ... today [11/28] announced that it plans to offer the first television-based advertising search solution in Spring 2006. Leveraging TiVo's television search capabilities that enhance the TV viewing experience, the new product will deliver relevant, targeted advertising to subscribers that want to view particular advertising categories. ¶ Leading media and advertising agencies including Interpublic Media, OMD, Starcom Mediavest Group and The Richards Group, as well as Comcast Spotlight, the advertising sales division of Comcast Cable, have worked with TiVo to provide their expertise in the development of this revolutionary product. Agency research and development techniques will contribute in determining relevant categories of interest, such as automotive, travel, telecommunications, and consumer packaged goods, as well as determine relevant pricing models. ¶ Today television advertising is almost entirely delivered when adjacent to mass programming. For the first time, advertisers will have the ability to deliver television advertising, on demand and targeted to consumers, without the limitations of traditional television media placement. Advertisers will be able to reach viewers in the market for a certain product or service. Ads will be delivered to subscribers who can conduct a search for a product by category or associated with keywords, utilizing the same revolutionary keyword search techniques offered with Internet advertising, resulting in increased relevancy for the consumer, as well as efficient, measurable results for the advertiser. ¶ This new advertising approach presents an opportunity for TiVo® service subscribers to search for relevant information on products or services that match their needs. The heightened viewer experience that the new offering is intended to provide will deliver non-intrusive, relevant, interactive advertising, on a opt-in basis. TiVo subscribers, if they choose to use the search capability, will retain control over their viewing experience through the creation of a viewer contributed profile via the set-top box that will enable them to receive advertisements based on their interests. ..." TiVo press release. Thanks to Mark Schubin's "Monday" Memo, the latest issue of which (11/29) is now at digitaltelevision.com.
There is lots of interest in this story in the "blogosphere" today, of which Craig Barnes' post, TiVo needs attention, not searchable ads, is representative. Link: Craig's Lemonade (Barns is president and founder of Attensa). --Dennis