TiVo Launches New Measurement Reporting Service

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TiVo Inc., a maker of television recording devices, yesterday launched a new audience measurement tool that allows broadcasters and advertisers to analyze second-by-second specific viewing patterns of its subscribers.

The San Jose, CA, company will also offer a subscription quarterly report that uses this measurement capability to report on viewing patterns within primetime programs. The report is in conjunction with Starcom MediaVest Group.

TiVo's service will track the large majority of its 700,000 subscribers who pay a monthly subscription fee to record on digital video recorders more than 40 hours of shows, fast forward through commercials, pause live TV or instantly replay scenes.

Users can decline TiVo's monitoring of their viewing habits. But a large number of them have not objected.

Information used to produce this analysis is drawn from anonymous and aggregate data collected by TiVo. This occurs when TiVo digital video recorders make a daily phone call to the firm's broadcast center to retrieve and download programming information. The aggregate viewer data can be culled into large samples for analysis on a real-time basis, the company said.

TiVo's report will allow advertisers to know which commercials audiences skipped or watched in their entirety in an episode of, say, "Everwood" or "ER." At the same time, network programmers will be able to know at what stage in a show viewers switched channels.

An obvious effort to decrease reliance on subscription fees, the TiVo TV measurement service may challenge Nielsen Media Research, whose TV audience viewership tracking is widely considered the industry gold standard.

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