Network TV techies as soothsayers

The Wall Street Journal today carries a story pegged to the launch of TiVo‘s “Product Watch” – a sort ofGoogle for TV ads that might interest you. It’s old news, really, dating back to November, but is noteworthy in that unlike so many techie annoucements, this one actually happened.

Essentially, a bunch of advertisers including Ford and Kraft Foods were sufficiently frightened of DVRs that they banded together with TiVo to offer a “smart search” for ads that might actually interest you. This, of course, to use, seems analgous to selecting a pollen spore for which you’d like to be allergic to, but obviously, the advertisers had to do something.

It raises, interestingly, more questions than it answers: When networks stream TV series on the Web, stations lose money. How stations should be compensated for that loss? Will affiliates play ball with the network? Will shows have to carry some sort of digital or online elements in order to make it onto the network schedule?

Answering these questions are a variety of network executives in Adweek‘s look at how all the three largest broadcast networks are using the “third screen” of the iPod / computer monitor.

It sounds, in fact, quite a lot like Google’s Froogle product search, and that similarity is not lost on those at Motley Fool, who argue that a partnership between TiVo and Google makes a fair amount of sense.