TiVo Boosts Stop||Watch Sample Size

NEW YORK TiVo said today it would increase the sample size of its Stop||Watch ratings service, which collects second-by-second viewing data, from 100,000 to 300,000 TiVo subscribers. The increased panel will enable the service to measure cable TV networks with audiences as small as 10,000 households, the DVR company said. 

Currently, the Stop||Watch service can accurately measure networks with an average household audience of 30,000 or more. The company said the increased sample size would enable it to measure “many dozens of additional networks” beyond the 87 cable and six broadcast networks that its Stop||Watch service currently measures.

“The demand for access to this granular level of viewing data across previously unmeasured cable networks is a driving force behind our decision to increase our sample size in the coming months,” said Todd Juenger, vp and general manager, TiVo audience research and measurement. “By turning up the dial to 300,000 subscribers, we will be able to cast a much wider net and deliver critical measurement and accountability for lesser-viewed television networks that still have millions of advertising impressions that are going unaccounted for, given the limitations of the sample size used by the industry currency.” 
 
Over the last couple of years advertisers and agencies have increasingly turned to second-by-second ratings services to get a better read on viewing patterns for 30-second spots. Other research firms offer second-by-second data as well, such as TNS Media Research, although for the most part such data is not yet used to buy and sell ads. The so-called industry “currency” is average commercial minute ratings including three days of DVR playback that is supplied by Adweek parent the Nielsen Co.

TiVo said the enhanced panel would be ready to measure the smaller audiences in time for the start of the 2009-10 broadcast season in September.