TiVo: Yes, We Have An Advertising Business

As has become custom, TiVo is announcing a flurry of business deals just before it announces earnings, which it reports this afternoon. Following yesterday’s announcement of a deal with NBC U, TiVo now says media buyer Carat will start buying TiVo’s set-top box data service called Stop Watch, culled from anonymous sample of 20,000 TiVo homes that show second-by-second viewing behaviour. Carat will also have access to Power Watch, an opt-in panel of 20,000 TiVo users who volunteer to have their personal data matched up with viewing preferences.

The NBC U and Carat deals, as well as a similar Starcom deal last spring, are all part of TiVo’s attempt to show that they have a business selling set-top data to the TV industry — because their core business of selling DVRs is and has been in trouble.

And there is some there, there: The ad industry is starting to embrace TiVo, in part due to its dissatisfaction with Nielsen, which has its own much-smaller set-top sample. As advertisers demand more precision from the TV business, TiVo could benefit — even if they sample an atypical subset of America, that rare genus known as the TiVo subscriber.

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