Everybody (Still) Loves Google

Well, what do we have here? Just days after I made the case for Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) to buy TiVo (Nasdaq: TIVO  ) , The Wall Street Journalreports (subscription required) that the pioneer of the digital video recorder is in talks with some of Madison Avenue's biggest ad firms over downloading searchable pitches. Among them: Interpublic Group's (NYSE: IPG  ) Interpublic Media, Omnicom Group's (NYSE: OMC  ) OMD, Publicis Groupe's (NYSE: PUB  ) Starcom MediaVest. Also among the participants: independent firm Richards Group and Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA  ) , already a TiVo partner, through its Spotlight ad sales group.

The idea, the Journal says, is to have viewers search for ads around specific topics and then download them to their TiVos. Users would first fill out profiles including category preferences and then type in keywords, which would serve as triggers. For example, selecting "travel" and typing in "Cayman Islands" could prompt TiVo to download a pitch from Royal CaribbeanCruises (NYSE: RCL  ) .

It's not entirely clear how pricing will work, but the Journal writes that advertisers will have the option to decide which categories and keywords they wish to associate with their pitches. And that, naturally, leads to visions of Google. A TiVo spokesperson even told the newspaper that the company is reviewing the "Google model," presumably referring to the notion of paid search.

Much as I'd like to, I've no right to gloat. The truth is that millions share TiVo's admiration of Google. Such giddiness doesn't mean an acquisition is in the offing. It's just as likely that Comcast could decide it wants the whole kit and caboodle, even though it lacks the same retail presence and has little, if any, experience with helping firms delivering their content via broadband downloads. At least not in the same way Motley Fool Rule Breakers pick Akamai Technologies (Nasdaq: AKAM  ) does it.

Still, it's interesting to see that Madison Avenue is waking up to the idea that ad delivery -- especially TV ad delivery -- has changed forever, and that the filter of choice has become the TiVo box. Whoever controls it -- or a substitute that's feature-rich enough to displace it -- will suddenly find itself with an important advantage in a $150 billion market. Better stay tuned, Fool.

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TiVo is aMotley Fool Stock Advisorpick. While it hasn't done all that well for the portfolio, many others have seen multi-bagger returns. On the whole, David Gardner's picks are up nearly 50%, while brother Tom's picks are up better than 75%. Both have walloped the market's 20% return over the same period.Get inon the action today by taking arisk-free 30-day trialto Stock Advisor. All you have to lose is the prospect of better returns.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers almost bought a TiVo box Saturday night. Tim owns shares of Interpublic and Akamai. You can find out what else is in his portfolio by checking Tim's Fool profile. The Motley Fool has an ironclad disclosure policy.


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