Interpublic Puts Millions Towards TiVo Upfront

As the television upfront gets underway today, a deal forged between TiVo and Interpublic Media represents one way in which tried-and-true media buying traditions can apply to the continually-shifting media landscape. The multi-million dollar upfront arrangement affords the media agency holding company preferred pricing and ad opportunities on the DVR service for all its clients including Sony, Intel, Johnson & Johnson and Microsoft.

“As we looked around at our client base, and shifting media especially, it made sense for us to lock in some preferential pricing for our clients,” explained David Cohen, EVP and U.S. director of digital communication at Interpublic’s Universal McCann.

At this point, Interpublic has not planned anything specific for any of its advertiser clients in relation to the agreement, but Cohen said they will begin doing so in the next two to four weeks. He did point to TiVo’s broadband and commerce capabilities as possible campaign components. Cohen also noted that Interpublic expects to develop customized advertising opportunities for its clients as a result of the deal. The agency group has already run TiVo “Showcase” campaigns for its clients, more of which will launch in the next couple of weeks.

The upfront deal is “very much a commitment of financial resources on the part of us and our clients; we haven’t locked in anything specific by client,” commented Cohen. “We knew there was a bunch of stuff that would organically happen throughout the year so we wanted to be proactive and nip it in the bud.”

TiVo said in a statement that the Interpublic deal is its first upfront arrangement with a major advertising holding company. Interpublic’s new Emerging Media Lab division organized the deal. Cohen described the new unit as “the nexus of digital communication and innovation for [Interpublic Group].” Through the Emerging Media Lab, the firm’s agencies, including Universal McCann, Initiative, and MAGNA Global, share best practices across clients and conduct proprietary trials, according to Cohen.

On a related note, it was reported today that Interpublic client Johnson and Johnson has decided not to participate in this year’s traditional upfront buying bonanza with broadcast TV networks.

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