TiVo Adds Spam (Yet Again)

We started with Showcases and those “yellow star” menu items, then graduated to the pop-up ads, followed by advertising masquerading as downloadable video, and just this week Product Watch commercials-on-demand were launched. Having fun yet? Now the already cluttered Series 2 Music, Photos, Products, and More area is gaining a custom Lexus application. Would you like a little TV with your commercial?

See comments below for more opinion…

TiVo says: TiVo Inc., the creator and a leader in advertising solutions and television services for digital video recorders (DVRs), today unveiled the first advertiser custom application, the Lexus Car Configuration Tool, that will be integrated into a Showcase on the TiVo(R) service. Adding to TiVo’s advertising product portfolio, the custom application provides advertisers with increased consumer engagement through unique interactive elements and an increased response rate over traditional campaigns.

“Delivering the first advertiser custom application on TiVo boxes allows us to further our lead in the industry in providing interactive and integrated advertising solutions through the television,” said Davina Kent, Vice President, National Advertising Sales, TiVo. “TiVo is committed to developing products and partnering with innovative advertisers to deliver relevant, interactive advertising that enhances the overall entertainment experience for TiVo subscribers. It is through TiVo’s unique technology that consumers have the ability to spend as much time as they choose to with an advertisement, while ensuring that they do not miss a second of their programming.”

Through a complete integration with TiVo’s advertising products, this new custom application will now let TiVo subscribers with a broadband-connected TiVo(R) Series2(TM) DVR customize the new 2007 Lexus ES 350, learn more about Lexus’ newest model, experience an ES 350 photo slideshow, request a dealer contact to schedule a test drive, and locate the Lexus dealer closest to their home, all from the comfort of their living room.

“We’re thrilled to expand our advertising relationship with TiVo, making it more convenient than ever for consumers to learn about the new Lexus ES 350,” said Deborah Meyer, Lexus vice president of marketing. “TiVo gives their subscribers the opportunity to control their media, allowing them to tune into what they want, when they want and helping them to discover something new. We believe that TiVo interactive advertising allows us to reach consumers in an innovative and unique way.”

15 thoughts on “TiVo Adds Spam (Yet Again)”

  1. Sorry Dave I don’t see the problem, the minute they try to force us to watch commercials I (and the rest of the TiVo subscriber base) will be up and arms and head down to Alvisio with torches in hand.

    Look at how the whole “popup while fast forwarding” fiasco went down, though that failure was partially because technical problems (I suspect on the part of oversealous brodcasters) which caused the ads to pop up over actual shows instead of just commercial breaks.

    TiVos current commercial offerings don’t bother me because they are easy enough to ignore. Admittedly the commercials on demand hasn’t landed on either of my TiVos yet so I can’t speak to that.

  2. No, we’re not being forced to watch commercials. But paid advertising is intruding more and more into the TiVo interface by adding the Product Watch folder to the top of you Now Playing menu and adding another sponsored HME app that further obscures my personal photo and music collection.

    So where will they draw the line, Robert? Obviously that line varies person to person… I’ve been fairly tolerant in recognizing and supporting TiVo’s need to generate money, but I hope they consider how these actions impact their customers. TiVo charges a premium price for premium service that is being diluted with paid advertising. Further, TiVo’s pitch offends my intelligence: “It’s included free with your monthly service charge!” Great, free advertising – that is exactly the reason I bought my TiVo!

    Am I jumping ship? Heck no! But these advertisements don’t make me as feel warm and fuzzy as the little TiVo guy used to make me. These ?feature enhancements? just give me one more reason to recommend a generic DVR to my uninitiated friends/family.

    If TiVo was really clever, they?d reduce my monthly bill by 25 cents for every one minute of advertising I watch – TiVo wins, advertisers win, Dave wins. ;)

  3. Heh I have no monthly bills from TiVo :)

    I guess I’m still at the point now where the new ads & features aren’t intrusive to me, I’m sure that TiVo is trying to keep it at that point for most users, of course some people are more sensitive than others to this sort of thing, and some people would tolerate crazy stuff like being forced to watch an ad before watching a show and being prevented from fast forwarding through certian commercials.

    As for the new ads on demand being a “feature” from my point of view that’s not really that unrealistic, then again I don’t use 30 second skip and have been known to back up to watch a commercial if it catches my eye while I’m fast forwarding. As I’ve mentioned before the super bowl is pretty good evidence that commercials can be entertainment in their own right, of course that sadly applys to a tinyt minority of commercials.

    On the other hand for particular annoying commercials (like the GE dancing elephant one which gets under my skin for some indescribable reason) I’ll hit pause if watching live TV and wait 30 seconds so I can fast forward through and not be subjected to it.

  4. Dave: I think you need to put things in perspective. TIVO has created the device that you can’t live without. So now they are giving you a CHOICE to view advertising. Heck, even GOOG is pushing advertising on us, but nobody seems to be complaining i.e see their stock lately? I think TIVO’s opt in advertising is great. It is advertising by choice, conscious choice for me, the customer.

  5. Not to be funny but WHO in their right mind is gonna watch commercials on demand? LMBO… Tivo has snookered advertisers this time and not the Tivo-ites.

  6. Lots of people will watch commercials “on demand” if they’re entertaining. Movie trailers, for example.

    Some people watch infomercials, right?

  7. I “watched it” and thought it was more interesting than much of what’s on TV…it’s only going to get better. Plus, if it puts more $ in Tivo’s pocket for future innovation, it’s a plus for Tivo customers. The “opt in” approach is about as non-obtrusive as it gets!

  8. yeah Dave your bitching over nothing. they have to make money some how and this way everyone wins all problems about ads on tv are solved now solved cause each side wins…

  9. If TiVo was really clever, they?d reduce my monthly bill by 25 cents for every one minute of advertising I watch – TiVo wins, advertisers win, Dave wins.

    That’s an excellent idea! Did you pitch that to TiVo? Better yet, just write it for MythTV yourself and start lining up your own advertisers!

  10. For me its not so much the concept of commercials on demand that bothers me. Its the lack of control I have over what’s stored on hardware that I own. Tivo gets to decide how long to keep these things and where they are located in my menu configuration. If these “features” could appear at a lower level than my pictures and music, or if I could rate types of commercials (so marketing isn’t just a shotgun spray) I’d be 200% happier with my service.

    Don’t get me wrong, I understand that Tivo is intended to be a DVR that “just works” like magic compared to DIY solutions but a modicum more customization would grant them a lot more leeway in respect to ads. I keep waiting for the day they make a change I just cannot live with and I’ll have to write a scathing email about how this was not the service I paid for with my lifetime contract. Of course when that day does come, I’m pretty sure I’ll be screwed.

  11. But once again this is TV – Tivo’s way. Who owns the machine? me; Since my machines are lifetime – I only paid to keep the TV guide updated. Sure Tivo PUSHES the commercials, etc. on the Tivo customers but I would think a majority would not want extra data on their Hard drives. Would you want the DSL or Cable owners to put info on your computer hard drive? Sure you pay a monthly bill but who owns the equipment? I Do.
    I will opt out of everything Tivo forces my way.
    Everyone says they want Tivo to get/make more money – fine then buy another Tivo, give up your lifetime service and pay monthly – put your $$ where your benevolence is. I paid for the box and dont want anyone else putting something on it. And those who say “you agreed to the terms of service” umm I did several years ago but any changes Tivo makes the that old service agreement are call contracts of adhesion – “take it or leave it.”
    This is where I agree with Dave. Tivo’s new slogan – “TV – Tivo’s way”

  12. Mr. A,

    I am glad you like commercials, I use the 30 sec skip as much as I can. Skipping commercials is why I have Tivo – Watching a 1 hour show in 40 mins is great. And I dont watch infomercials either, I have better things to do with my time. I read books, the newspaper, etc. Show me the picture of a product, if I am interested then I can look for the website. Otherwise I am not interested.
    I hope Tivo makes money, I think Tivo constantly looks for the quick $$ instead of looking at the long term picture – like cutting out lifetime, etc. selling space on your Tivo hard drive, so they are making $$ off of you and your harddrive space, enjoy it.

  13. I knew advertisers would take this idea 2 steps over the line. There’s never a middle ground with these people, it’s either one extreme or another. Why in the Hell would I (or anyone), need to ” Design your own Lexus”? Once I design it, are they going to give me the car for free? No? It’s completely pointless. I live in the city and don’t OWN a car, seeing this little blip of there’s on TIVO isn’t going to make me run out and buy one.

    Any one who wants to by a Lexus, isn’t going to do so just because they saw it on TIVO. It’s a car, not a tube of toothpaste. There’s a huge differents between, $5 dollars and $55,000 thousand dollars (morons) – that’s just common sense. All they ARE doing is wasting precious hard drive space, which I am paying for.

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