TiVo Will No Longer Skip Past Advertisers

They’ll just add new ones.

Will this news harm Tivo’s brand?

TiVo Will No Longer Skip Past Advertisers
The tool that lets viewers control the TV will soon sport ‘billboards’ and track viewing habits.
By Gina Piccalo, Times Staff Writer

When it debuted in 1999, TiVo revolutionized the TV experience by wresting control of screen time from advertisers, allowing viewers to record shows and skip commercials. TiVo’s slogan said it all: “TV your way.”

Behind the scenes, though, TiVo was courting advertisers, selling inroads to a universe most customers saw as commercial-free. The result is a groundbreaking new business strategy, developed with more than 30 of the nation’s largest advertisers, that in key ways circumvents the very technology that made TiVo famous.

If you visit “Advertising with Tivo”, you’ll get an idea of their recent ad model. And Tivo Showcase touts their recent successes.

Looking at the Internet Archive “Wayback Machine” you see that the original team had an advertising savvy member already. Jonathan Marx (previously of Viacom Cable) had 14 years of cable ad experience. So, Tivo likely had ad revenue streams in their sights from the beginning. Don’t ya’ think? 😉

Check out the entire history of the Tivo website and see if you can find previous mentions of ‘skipping advertisements’ as a marketing point.

In 2000, the company touted research that identified these key points related to why consumers appreciate Tivo:

– An overwhelming majority of respondents feel that the TiVo Service has made TV viewing “a lot more enjoyable” (three in four respondents, 72%).
– TiVo makes the entire spectrum of television programming available. Nearly two of three respondents (59%) said they now watch programs that were once unavailable because of inconvenient scheduling.
– Because TiVo personalizes TV viewing, respondents report that channel-surfing has decreased dramatically (down 31%).
– Because there’s always something on TiVo, respondents report an increase in the amount of television they watch with 6 in 10 (62%) watching television more often with TiVo.
– As a result, respondents now see television as their primary source of entertainment (31% of the respondents compared with 16% before they had TiVo).
– TiVo is a product that becomes a part of daily life: 70% of the sample group select programs to record everyday.
– And what do they record? Kids programming and dramas were the most recorded programs with the sample group with sitcoms following closely.

Even if there are not examples of that selling point (avoiding commercials), the value of skipping through advertisements is already linked to their brand. Now, if you skip through one, you get another. Can you imagine advertisers challenging Tivo in court? Skip our ads and show your own? I know, it almost sounds crazy.

Think about it. If you already have Tivo, was that a driving influence in your desire to get the service? Or, was it just an ‘added value’? Added value or not, don’t consumers view such perks with appreciation? And, do you think there will be backlash by current subscribers?

So, will this new practice by Tivo harm their brand?