TiVo Study Traces Fast-Forwarding Patterns

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TiVo Inc., the maker of a set-top box that allows people to save, pause, rewind and fast-forward television programs, recently released a survey that shows customers using the service are fast-forwarding through most commercials and channel-surfing less.

There was a 31 percent decrease in channel-surfing overall, according to the study, conducted by Frank N. Magid Associates, New York, which polled all households using the service. Seventy percent of those polled used the service to record a program at least once a day, and 72 percent said it made their television experience more enjoyable.

Meanwhile, the company reported that users of the service also felt more comfortable turning to ads contained within the system. These include DRTV ads that can reach people by being saved on the system's hard drive before purchase, by being sent to the user weekly through an internal channel called the TiVo Network and by a new feature that takes the form of a weekly video magazine.

TiVo, Dallas, has a penetration of 35,000 households. But recent deals with Blockbuster and IFilm.com and a partnership with Liberate Technologies to include services for AOLTV, America Online's interactive television service, will significantly boost that number within a year. TiVo's chief rival in the personalized television realm is ReplayTV, which shares similar Internet, technology and media backers and has recently launched an aggressive national marketing campaign.

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