If you've ever wondered about which commercials are actually being watched and which spots are ignored in a fast-forwarded DVR blur, TiVo
TiVo's Ad Scorecard is a free site where visitors can pit rival brands against one another to measure viewer retention.
You have to like the timing of today's release, just as we all become ad-consuming couch potatoes during this weekend's Super Bowl.
It also can't be a coincidence that this site rolls out a week after Nielsen
TiVo's been tracking viewing patterns for years, something that became apparent seven Super Bowl weekends ago.
The 2004 Super Bowl played unwitting host to Janet Jackson's infamous wardrobe malfunction. As the nation spun into an uproar, TiVo let us know how many people were rewinding the halftime show to confirm what had happened.
TiVo's been offering advertisers the ability to gauge viewer engagement with its premium StopWatch ratings for some time. Arming marketing executives and brand managers with the ability to know which ads are being watched, on what shows, and on which channels allows them to dive deeper than they can with rudimentary ratings data. How important is that first ad in a break? At what time is someone more likely to sit through a particular spot? TiVo knows.
It's not a perfect world for TiVo. Data mining works best on the largest sample size possible, and TiVo has been shedding net subscribers in recent years. TiVo has been able to lean on its valuable patents to strike deals with generic DVR pushers including DirecTV
In that sense, even this morning's small site launch can only help. Even if the Ad Scorecard site winds up appealing only to marketing execs looking to pass the time with battle-of-the-brands matchups, journalists and couch potatoes are bound to lean on the site for novelty's sake from time to time. The only thing missing from Ad Tracker is the collection of Facebook and Twitter buttons to really make this puppy go viral. Getting the TiVo brand out there as both a DVR service and an ad tracker is what TiVo needs almost as badly as a conclusive legal victory against DISH.
The Ad Scorecard won't let me pit TiVo and DISH Network in a battle of the brands -- there's no option for TiVo as an advertiser -- but it would be interesting to know which one wins in the end.
Do you find TiVo's data mining neat or insensitive? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has a pair of TiVo boxes in his home, but he owns no shares in any of the companies in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.