TiVo and Advertisers Up the Ante with Custom Content

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The advent of the digital video recorder (DVR) has been a source of great consternation for traditional advertisers because, in one small remote, users suddenly have the ability to zip past their ridiculously expensive campaigns.

But the advertisers just got savvy.

TiVo has teamed up with 70 advertisers for TiVo Product Watch, a new ad delivery service that will be integrated into TiVo subscribers' Now Playing area. The service will allow viewers to select advertising content from five product categories: automotive, entertainment, financial, lifestyles, and travel and leisure (travel and leisure count as one -- just in case you're doing the math).

On its face this sounds like a fancy way of repurposing traditional television advertising into downloadable chunks. However, a small sentence contained within the TiVo Product Watch press release suggests the new service could actually be a paradigm-shifting ad model:

"... TiVo Product Watch capitalizes on TiVo's award-winning television search capabilities to deliver relevant, targeted product videos to TiVo's millions of subscribers ..."

The keywords are "relevant, targeted product videos." Up until now, TV advertising was a broad-based, scattershot affair that sought to overwhelm the marketplace with messages in the hope that a small percentage of consumers would be successfully wooed. But targeted advertising is a whole new ball of wax. Now, advertisers can create targeted campaigns with better conversion, and consumers can receive product information that's actually relevant to their needs and desires.

Sounds nice, right? But here's the question: Will anyone really use the Tivo Product Watch service? Is it destined to be a must-have utility or, like many initiatives of this ilk, will it become yet another slick option no one uses? -- Mac Slocum

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