TiVo offers research on viewing habits

SAN JOSE, CA: With the recent release of the first of its quarterly reports on television viewing habits, TiVo has entered a market long-dominated by traditional ratings methods developed by companies like Nielsen Media Research.

SAN JOSE, CA: With the recent release of the first of its quarterly reports on television viewing habits, TiVo has entered a market long-dominated by traditional ratings methods developed by companies like Nielsen Media Research.

TiVo's ability to monitor viewer behavior on a second-by-second basis will certainly make a splash in the advertising industry, but PR people are still mulling the implications of increasingly detailed TV audience data for their practices.

Barbara Kalunian, SVP of Ketchum's communications and media strategy group, said that TiVo's usefulness will depend on its success in both penetrating the market and in changing viewer behavior. "There is a possibility that we'll win with TiVo," she said.

At this point, digital video recorders are in about 2.4% of American households, but in two or three years that number could be as high as 15% or 20%.

"No one is saying this will happen overnight," said Richard Fielding, VP and media research director for Starcom MediaVest Group. "We're not saying it's the death of the 30-second spot. Media and communications architecture and planning is going to move to connect with the consumer on a deeper level, rather than just on the shallow, broader targeting of old."

The report found audience willingness to watch commercials varied by demographics and by type of show watched.

Viewers were more likely to stick around for ads in shows they're more likely to watch

live, like events and reality programming, according to a survey of 250 episodes of 70 prime-time shows between last October and February.

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