Google Enhances TV Ad Measurement with TiVo Data Deal

A new data partnership between Google and TiVo could boost prices for television ads purchased through Google’s TV ad buying system. TiVo now will provide Google with commercial viewing data gathered through its digital video recorders to better inform Google TV ad measurement.

Until now, Google has relied on ad viewing data from EchoStar’s DISH Network, which also provides Google with satellite television inventory. Google’s TV inventory also includes NBC Universal cable networks such as CNBC and MSNBC, along with channels such as the Game Show Network and the Hallmark Channel.

“We can deliver a more finely-tuned picture for advertisers,” said Google Spokesperson Eric Obenzinger. Google will now mix viewing data from DISH and TiVo to help calculate how many people watched an ad.

TiVo Audience Research and Management VP and GM Todd Juenger suggested that by adding TiVo data representing 1.6 million households, Google will be able to measure TV viewing more precisely, which could create more market efficiency. The TiVo data measures both live and time-shifted viewing.

“Programming that’s actually delivering more audiences or better audiences will end up seeing higher prices for that,” continued Juenger. “Overall there will be an upward lifting effect…I strongly believe that better measurement attracts more media dollars.”

Google will only apply the TiVo data to TV ad measurement, not measurement of its online advertising products.

“The only thing that we see…is a set top box number, a zip code, the network or show being watched, and a series of time stamps,” said Obenzinger. He said Google processes over 1 billion channel changes per day, measuring when people change channels while an ad is playing.

Obenzinger said the data deal proves Google is investing in its TV ad product. “It shows that we’re really behind TV ads.” Google shuttered its other traditional media buying businesses for print and radio early this year.

According to Obenzinger, Google has served over 100 billion TV ad impressions, and its TV inventory reaches 96 million households. Around 30 percent of the firm’s TV advertisers were introduced to television advertising as Google AdWords advertisers, and had not advertised on TV before, he said. Many of them are direct response advertisers. Even the large agencies buying on behalf of brand advertisers often use the Google system to test ads, making them more performance-oriented than the typical TV brand advertiser.

The deal represents a growing revenue stream for TiVo, which also provides its anonymous DVR-based audience viewing data to TRA (True ROI Accountability for Media), which pairs it with in-store purchase data to analyze the effects of TV ad exposure on purchase behavior.

“We’re basically licensing our big set of raw data,” said Juenger.

TiVo also partners with online audience measurement firm Quantcast to create single source data for measuring household Internet and television usage. Juenger described the Quantcast deal as “more of a partnership” than the relationships with Google and TRA. “It’s not like we’re selling our data to Quantcast,” he said.

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