Forget Interactive TV — TiVo Goes For Interactive Commercials

from the spam-me-please dept

TiVo has always experimented with ways to to update commercial advertising for an era in which everyone can skip commercials. Among the methods they’ve tried is the ability to let people “click” for more info on certain commercials they find interesting. It’s sort of the weak equivalent of an online ad. It’s not clear how many people have actually clicked on any of these ads (best guess: not many), but that hasn’t stopped TiVo from trying to expand the program to make it slightly more interactive. The latest addition is that TiVo users will be able to click a button on those commercials to send the advertiser personal info in order to be added to a junk mail list. Somehow, this seems even less likely to get usage. First, you have to convince people who are fast forwarding through a commercials that it’s interesting enough to not just zip through it. Second, the ad has to be interesting enough to get people to want to “find out more” immediately, rather than just being satisfied from the info they get in the ad. Third, the users have to understand that they can click through on the ad for more info (and then proactively do so). Finally, the users have to be willing to send their personal data to some advertising firm in order to get on some advertising mailing list, while still hoping the data isn’t misused. It seems like the type of thing that advertisers would love — but did anyone from TiVo stop to consider whether or not anyone would actually use such a feature?

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Forget Interactive TV — TiVo Goes For Interactive Commercials”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
kael says:

Tivo - Service your customers!

Tivo should remember who pays the bills: their customers. Sure, they need content to offer be able to attract customers, but load the wagon before hitching up the horse.
In this vein, make ads user-centric. I’d like to see a feature where the user could black/white list ads. If I can skip all tampon ads yet see anything from Sci-fi, that’s utility to me (the user) and makes me feel like I’m getting a service. Tivo could use this black/white list data, sanitized of course, available to advertisers, for a price or whatever. Win win.

Ivan Sick says:

Re: Tivo - Service your customers!

That’s a great idea. I mean, it would really work. On me. What would make it even better is the ability to choose to blacklist certain ads. Like that one that falls into your area of interest, but not really, and it’s annoying after three views (and you’ve seen it FIFTY TIMES). It’s not like there’s a shortage of advert material to replace those from…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Tivo - Service your customers!

You’re kidding yourself if you think TiVo customers pay the bills. TiVo customers barely pay for themselves. The hardware is sold at a loss, and with the decrease in sub fees for multi-tivo households, in many cases it may take more than a year or more of sub fees for TiVo to break even on just the box they sold you, never mind the service, R&D, etc. etc. The last two boxes I bought (my third & fourth) cost me $100 – $100 rebate, 0$… How many months @ $6.95 ea do you think it takes just to pay for the hardware.

kael says:

Re: Re: Tivo - Service your customers!

If Tivo customers DON’T pay the bills (I’m talking business model here, not reality), then I’d like to know how Tivo plans to make money so I can decide whether I want to be in their “resource pool”. If they don’t intend to make money from me, then I’m not their customer.
Further, the hardware costs Tivo a lot less than what they “sell” it for. How much less would be interesting to know, but I would guess the subscription fee is designed to payoff any rebates in less than a year OR Tivo is getting a lot of money from sources other than subscribers.

John Cody (user link) says:

Re: Tivo - Service your customers!

The Filter feature is a very good idea, but it would require ALL commercials on ALL networks to be encoded with the tag data to filter on, which would be a logistics nightmare and virtually impossible to implement anytime soon.

Here’s another thought…Since advertisers pay google for click throughs for their ads…why doesn’t Tivo charge advertisers for click throughs that Tivo users do, and a portion of that fee gets credited to the individual Tivo user’s $12.95 monthly fee. This would create an incentive for users to actually “Click for More Info” because it will lower their monthly fee, and potentially pay for it completely.

Maybe even give the Tivo user a short quiz about the commercial, and only credit the user’s account if they get the answers right – so the advertiser will know for sure that the whole purpose of their ad (that it sinks into the viewers mind) was obtained.

Steve Connor says:

TiVo stats

In BusinessWeek (2005 July 4, p. 59) “Cable’s Big Bet on Hyper-Targeting”, GM indicated that 10% – 25% of viewers have clicked through to their longer ads. It’s hard to tell if all advertisers are enjoying such good click-throughs, but once the novelty wears off, those stats will probably decrease significantly.

Anonymous Coward says:

No Subject Given

To all the comments analyzing how Tivo pays for the hardware… TIVO does NOT sell hardware. Never has. They have no hardware cost to ‘cover’; they are not involved.

Hardware is strictly a Sony/Phillips, etc. deal; all discounts on hardware are based on kickbacks to those hardware dealers from DirecTV or whomever.

They also do not get advertising revenue, at least for the ads that are buried in the broadcast content (they do get revenue from the stuff accessible only through their menues). Tivo makes money on the Tivo service subscription fees. Period. Their only relation to “service” of customers is indirect, in that the actions they take will eventually expand or contract their subscriber base. The exception is the “click through” wherein they get a cut… so having interactive adds (profiled/filtered or not) can only be upside to them.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...