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NBC Uni time-shifts with TiVo data
LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - For the next several years, NBC Universal will rely on TiVo to tell it how television viewers are using their digital video recorders and, presumably, to introduce interactive commercials to the masses.
In a pact announced Tuesday, the companies said they will use TiVo's existing interactive advertising platforms as well as create new ones, and they will split some of the revenue the platforms could generate.
The deal also calls for NBC Uni to subscribe to TiVo's Stop//Watch and Power//Watch services, which provide second-by-second data about shows and commercials that are being watched, paused, skipped and rewound.
Power//Watch is based on a random and anonymous sampling of 20,000 of TiVo's 4.2 million subscribers each night, whereas Power//Watch data comes from an opt-in panel of 20,000 TiVo users, so it includes detailed demographic information.
One of the interactive advertising initiatives NBC Uni will use is TiVo's tag system, which allow viewers to click during a commercial in order to obtain more information about the advertised product, then return to the show they were viewing without missing programming.
NBC Uni, with its 14 television networks and 10 NBC owned-and-operated stations, becomes the first large network to sign on to TiVo's interactive advertising and audience-measurement initiatives.
TiVo, which is expected to report its quarterly earnings after Wall Street's closing bell Wednesday, has been trying for years to diversify beyond its subscription business. Executives, though, have yet to reveal whether its audience measurement and interactive advertising businesses have resulted in significant revenue.
"It will be a material and meaningful growth business. I'm referring to advertising and measurement," said Todd Juenger, TiVo vice president audience research and measurement.
There were 9 million U.S. households with at least one DVR in them in 2005, expected to grow to about 35 million -- or 31 percent of all U.S. households -- in 2010, according to PricewatherhouseCoopers.
For NBC Uni, the time was right for the TiVo deal. With the advent of the Commercial+3 ratings as this year's currency, it made TiVo's services more attractive.
"A year ago, we wouldn't even have had that conversation. But with the currency conversation in the industry, and being paid in who's watching the commercials, we no longer had a disincentive for time-shifted viewing," said Mike Pilot, NBC Uni's sales chief. "A year ago, we wouldn't have wanted to introduce a format that would have encouraged the viewer to leave live-viewing mode."
Pilot said another attractive feature of the deal was the opportunity for new advertising formats like couponing and contests that are available via TiVo.
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