Thursday, February 05, 2004 - TiVo: Jackson stunt most replayed moment ever - Feb. 3, 2004

I normally don't start my posts with links, but it seemed appropriate this time. I strongly suggest you read the article before reading the rest of this post, but assuming that you won't, here are the key quotes from the article I want to talk about:

TiVo said it used its technology to measure audience behavior among 20,000 users during the Super Bowl.

Not only did users pause and replay the infamous portion of the halftime show more than any moment during the game, but they also did the same for some commercials.

TiVo's top two commercials, based on user behavior, are both from Bud Light: a romantic sleigh ride interrupted by a flatulent horse and a sharp-toothed dog demonstrating his unusual way of scoring a beer for his master.

The focus of most articles on this topic is not really the TiVo technology, but it should be. One of the main draws of TiVo technology, aside from the ability to watch your shows later is the ability to skip commercials. Increasingly, people are proposing more and more ways to use TiVo to get around commercials and even get around product positioning in reality shows (see my earlier post here). TiVo has the collects the kind of data that is invaluable to marketers. Why is it invaluable? Because it tells marketers how to market to get around TiVo.

Not convinced? Ok, read the article (or at least the quotes above). TiVo was able to tell how many people viewed the halftime show. Normally, when you talk about "view," you are talking about the television being set to a particular channel (ala Nielson). In terms of TiVo, TiVo, apparently, knows when you reviewed/played that particular piece of footage from the halftime show. They even tell you as much in the article by referencing their ability to track what is replayed ("top 2 commercials based on consumer behavior" -- i.e., based on the number of times it was replayed).

So, TiVo owner's: Do you care that they can track your "consumer behavior" down to such a minute level and with such precision? Did you read the service agreement that you agreed to before you started using TiVo? Chances are that somewhere in your service agreement you gave TiVo the right to track you.

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