Tivo - the key US player in PVRs- has announced an interesting new advertising opportunity (sub req.); viewers can search for ads in categories they're interested in - and have the Tivo download them. Partnering with some of the bigger US media agencies Tivo expect to launch the service next Spring.
"People who watch traditional television are forced to view commercials in random fashion, regardless of what they may be interested in buying, says Tom Rogers, TiVo's president and chief executive. "We're flipping the dynamic," he says, allowing TiVo subscribers to search for ads that match their interests. "If you are in the market for a product, and you have no idea when commercials related to that kind of product are going to appear, it doesn't help you very much," he adds."
This is a big step forward - we've always balanced our view that PVRs are a significant problem for traditional advertising by saying that we'll see exciting new advertising solutions enabled by PVRs such as Sky+ (and we've spent time with Sky considering what these might be). But this sort if idea can still develop further; Tivo are considering a Google style model where brands bid for prominence - we can see Google getting very involved in this sort of opportunity.
Update - thinking more about this we don't think it goes far enough - once you know someone is in the market, would a 30 second ad be enough? No way - you would want to deliver something more in depth - a longer form ad that tells more of the story; you've moved from advertising to direct marketing. The Sky team are currently looking at this sort of thing for Sky+.
It's getting exciting.
No-one knows what happens next.
It's time to experiment!