It's no secret that one of the great allures of TiVo
The idea appears to be modeled after the same pop-up ads that appear in the background when you visit a website. But on TiVo, they would appear to the side of the screen and take up roughly 25% of the viewing space. News.com reports that TiVo is testing its interactive ad system with consumers who own its Series2 device. Only one advertiser -- a movie studio -- is participating.
It would be tempting to dismiss the idea, since much of TiVo's value comes from offering commercial-free TV. But I think doing so would fail to see the bigger picture. After all, targeted advertising works, as witnessed by the hypergrowth at Google
It's worth asking because TiVo's subscriber base is at 3 million and growing. No, that doesn't make for the same national stage as the networks, but TiVo's software for tracking your viewing habits is as good as or better than any Nielsen report. Moreover, the firm's recent deal with Comcast
Maybe that's why TiVo appears to be aping Google. Seriously. Consider the possibilities: Google is the top-rated gateway to the Web; TiVo is fast becoming the gateway to your TV. Google is profiting from it through targeted paid searches; TiVo could profit by offering targeted paid surfing. See what I mean?
If the weekend's experiment proves successful, and TiVo's other interactive advertising tools catch on, it's a fast leap from selling boxes to selling a portal with high-rent advertising space. If you don't believe me, ask yourself: Why else would Comcast agree to fund engineering services to easily create interactive ads for TiVos designed for its network?
For related Foolishness:
- The bigwigs at TiVo are apparently planning to go out for sushi.
- Were you there when TiVo opened up?
- At least there's the hope the DVR maker will fade to black.
TiVo is one of David Gardner's recommendations for
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Fool contributor Tim Beyers doesn't own a TiVo, opting instead for DISH Network's DVR. He longs for the real thing, though. Tim didn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story at the time of publication. You can find out what's in his portfolio by checking Tim's Fool profile, which is here. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.