TiVo Tries Fresh DVR Ad Approach

NEW YORK TiVo upped its efforts to include advertising in its digital video recording service with its most intrusive effort to date. The company will embed ads after a recorded program plays.

The graphical ad unit, which TiVo calls a “program placement,” appears at the end of a recorded program, on the screen asking viewers if they want to delete the show. It is designed to give advertisers a way to reach TiVo’s more than 4.4 million subscribers, many of which fast-forward through commercial breaks. Burger King, General Motors and MasterCard are the first flight of sponsors testing out the ad unit.

To date TiVo has relied on user-initiated advertising. It runs special promotions from advertisers in its TiVo Showcase section, lets users search for products and has “interactive tags” that alert viewers to ad content when they fast-forward through a commercial.

TiVo said the ads are designed to be more interactive than standard TV spots, including options for long-form content, lead generation and purchases. Viewers must initiate all video, unlike so-called post-roll commercials increasingly common on Web sites.

The ads will be targeted to specific programs, TiVo said, allowing an advertiser to go through TiVo, for example, to reach DVR owners recording Lost. TiVo is not targeting based on subscriber demographics.

Burger King is running an ad that invites to view long-form videos touting its new Xbox 360 video games. The Weather Channel is running placements touting its top meteorologists, Stephanie Abrams and Mike Bettes.

“TiVo can now help advertisers effectively engage a target demographic audience while substantially countering the impact of fast-forwarding commercials,” TiVo CEO Tom Rogers said in a statement.

TiVo worked with Interpublic Group agency MindShare, Omnicom Group’s GSD&M and independent Media Storm to develop the ad unit.