TiVo Developing Ad Search Capability

TiVo is working with media and ad agencies to develop television-based ad search capabilities for its digital video recorders (DVRs).

Interpublic Media, OMD, Starcom Mediavest Group and The Richards Group, along with Comcast Spotlight, the cable provider’s ad sales division, have been working with TiVo to develop the solution, expected in the spring. Viewers will be able to use TiVo’s search technology to find ads by keyword or product categories like automotive, travel, telecommunications, and consumer packaged goods.

“Through initial conversations with our clients, we have seen much interest in TiVo’s advertising solutions and believe that through further development, we will have the opportunity to reach target audiences in a more relevant and engaging manner,” said Sean Finnegan, OMD Digital’s U.S. director.

For the most part, advertisers have feared the “TiVo effect” that saw a majority of DVR users skipping commercials on a regular basis. But some have sought to embrace DVR technology instead of shunning it. By working with TiVo on this initiative, the agencies hope to bring the relevancy of online search ads to TV, since searchers self-select via keywords the categories of information and ads they are interested in seeing.

“In the rapidly evolving era of permission-based marketing, the ability for consumers to deliberately seek out long-form advertising is a huge boon for both advertisers and viewers,” said Mark Rosenthal, chairman and CEO of Interpublic Media, which oversees Interpublic’s worldwide media operations. “We recognize that consumer media usage is changing and are committed to seeking out opportunities, like the new search product to be offered by TiVo, to continue to deliver our clients with maximum return on investment in their media choices.”

The company has been experimenting with ways to make its ads more appealing to viewers and advertisers alike. Last year, it began testing a program to show mini-ads while a user fast-forwards past regular commercials. In July, it launched an interactive direct response advertising program where viewers were asked to respond to a customized call to action or branded “tag” in select commercial spots.

“TiVo intends to capture the best of the Internet advertising model and create a unique advertising product for the television medium that will provide measurable results,” said Davina Kent, VP of national ad sales at TiVo.

TiVo subscribers will be able to opt in to use the search capability, and create a user profile via the set-top box to choose categories of ads they would like to receive.

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