TiVo Plans to Sell Information on Customers’ Viewing Habits

Catherine sent me a link to this report about TiVo in the NY Times, which I’m sure is making waves with privacy advocates…

“TiVo, the maker of digital video recorders, plans today to begin selling information about the viewing patterns of its customers to advertisers and programmers. The company says the reports offer far more precise data than traditional rating methods.

Because TiVo’s are essentially computer hard drives connected to a central server, the company can monitor viewers’ second-by-second behavior. It can tell how many viewers in a certain ZIP code clicked away at what moment in a commercial, for instance, or when a particular character appeared on a show.

However…

” The information will be gathered in aggregate and filtered through a third party, Mr. Yudkovitz said, so that the habits of individual users will remain anonymous.

And…

” Less than a million households currently own a TiVo, so the data may have limited value for immediate decision-making. But the reports, which Tivo plans to publish quarterly, may give the industry a sense of the changes it is facing…

Like the fact that…

” …54 percent of the total audience was skipping commercials….”

Which will …

“… dramatically alter the way advertisers deliver their message and programmers determine their programming.”

And I hope will reduce media spam, but that could be too much to hope for ;-)