NBC Universal to offer interactive ads via TiVo

A screen shows Internet services available through a TiVo digital video recorder January 5, 2006. General Electric Co.'s NBC Universal agreed to start offering interactive advertising services and subscribe to a ratings service from TiVo Inc, the companies said on Tuesday. REUTERS/Steve Marcus

BOSTON (Reuters) - NBC Universal has agreed to use ratings data and other advertising products from TiVo Inc TIVO.O, becoming the first major broadcaster to use the digital video recorder company's advertising services.

Shares of TiVo rose 5.36 percent to $5.90 in Nasdaq trading after the announcement of the deal, which will allow NBC to use the ratings data to better track how often audiences skip commercials.

The deal comes as TV executives are searching for detailed research on audience viewing patterns, in addition to the figures provide by Nielsen Media Research, as more Americans use digital video records.

“With proliferating media options and changing consumer behavior, our clients are asking for new ideas, better metrics, and more accountability,” Mike Pilot, president, NBC Universal Sales and Marketing, said in a statement.

The agreement with TiVo covers NBC Universal's 14 television networks -- including NBC, Telemundo and Bravo -- as well as its 10 NBC-owned TV stations. NBC Universal is a unit of General Electric Co. GE.N

Under the deal, advertisers who buy television commercials on those networks and television stations will have the option of adding an interactive component to those spots.

They can insert TiVo “tags” into television commercials that let viewers click on an icon when watching an ad to obtain more information about a product.

NBC Universal also purchased a ratings service from TiVo that provides second-by-second viewership ratings on television commercials.

Reporting by Jim Finkle and Paul Thomasch, editing by Dave Zimmerman