Google partners up with TiVo to gather DVR viewing habits

By on November 25, 2009, 6:00 PM
Google has joined forces with TiVo to collect information on viewing habits of DVR users. The search giant plans to add TiVo "television viewing data" to its existing Google TV Ads program. The deal will allow Google TV Ads to draw on "anonymous DVR viewing data," which will be used to help Google's advertising clients measure how and when their ads are viewed.

With the advent of DVR technology, TV watchers have the ability to skip through commercials, but they are still exposed to brief glimpses as the ads zip by. Not to mention that it's nearly impossible to start and stop fast-forwarding precisely, which generally forces viewers to watch a portion of the first and last commercials.

As you can imagine, this makes it much more difficult for advertisers to properly place ads. Google intends to provide those advertisers with a more detailed picture by collecting second-to-second data, logging which commercials you watch, and what ones you skip.

"We know that some set-top box out there pressed play on a certain network at a certain time -- then we know they hit fast-forward, hit pause, and hit play. You do that across a million and a half set-top boxes, and you get a collective picture of what percentage of people were watching a certain commercial at a given time," said TiVo exec Todd Juenger.

User Comments: 14

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vangrat said:

I have had an idea in relation to all this hubub about ads. Why not have ads come up during a paused screen, kind of like how adds sit on the side of your web browser, you can ignore them but they are still there still getting the information out about the product. The same could be done with paused screens on a DVR. Just have an ad come up, it doesn't have to be animated could just be bilboard style or whatever, but at least the information would be there.

Matthew Matthew, TechSpot Staff, said:

Similar things are being tried. Take a look at this for an example. That's not the exact implementation you described, but I'm sure it's on the table.

matchu said:

I... don't even watch TV anymore. Isn't that what the internet is for ?

lfg18 said:

As I mentioned in other post, google is getting access to too much information, it is not that I am paranoid or something but just think about it. And for what vangrat said about the adds, well since people now can skip the adds in their programs, well now they are including them IN the programs, the have sitcoms dedicate a chapter of the series dedicated to an specific product or products "casually" appear during the show, in that way you cannot skip them :S

MrAnderson said:

Is TiVo still relevant? Cable and Satellite have DVR and are able to provide most of the services that TiVo provided right?

IvanAwfulitch IvanAwfulitch said:

I'm personally in agreement with lfg18. Google and Apple are both getting a LOT of user information access. Apple has their Mobile Me thing gathering info about users, and Google gets all kinds of rights to look at certain user information to follow what people view and how often. It's a little ridiculous. Now they get to spy on what people TiVo? I don't give two craps about advertisements in my shows. I'd rather not have Google or Apple get to spy on me. If they want that information, freaking ASK ME! To any government agent reading this page, hi!

sky_could_fall sky_could_fall said:

As I said before, Google is some kind of Big Brother. Google knows everything.

Nirkon said:

sky_could_fall said:

As I said before, Google is some kind of Big Brother. Google knows everything.

They are getting there... heh...

Ever since I got my 'Tivo-like' device I don't watch commercials at all..

i choose what to record, watch it later and skip the commercials...

so when to people watch ads on Tivo?

ET3D, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Nirkon, actually, I think that the article is true, in that I do notice some things in ads even when I fast forward past them.

JMMD JMMD, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I don't watch commercials regardless of how I am watching TV. I'll change the channel before watching a commercial.

ColdPreacher said:

Same here, i don't watch tv but google collecting data for advertisement firms to better understand what is in or not i guess is good. Could mean better advertisements for the Super Bowl.

manintech said:

now google is everywhere, hope they don't become the next microsoft

fref said:

There really is money to be made everywhere! With that sort of study, I'm sure the first and last ad will cost a lot more to advertisers than ads in the middle of the commercial break. Then again, they probably already cost more because I'm sure they figured that out even before the study.

lupinnktp said:

google is growing with an alarming rate, if you ask me, not juz in terms of cash, but more importantly in influence and information-gathering. anyone can find anyone else on google, with their info and whatnots...

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