Wednesday, November 12, 2008

How TiVo Changed the World

Well, let’s not be dramatic, but DVRs do have marketers debating and scrambling for a replacement of the 30 second spot. While advertisers used to be assured that viewers would be stuck sitting through their commercials during their favorite show, DVR has re-introduced the fast-forward button into our lives. So what’s a marketer to do?

Most realize that this will lead to a change, large or small, in how advertisements will be done for television. A team of panelists on The Future of Television Advertising discussed possible solutions to the changing atmosphere. Some of these solutions often thrown around are to make better commercials so people will be engaged to watch them, to increase product placement, and to make television ads interactive. Tomorrows Trends introduces the idea of “ad words” where text is shown during commercials that are fast-forwarded. Most advertising professionals realize that television advertising will continue to be important, though many continue to suggest that it is quickly going the way of the radio spot.

TiVo CEO Tom Rogers does little to appease anxious advertisers: “There are going to be 50 or 60 million DVRs in homes over the next few years. The majority of television ads in those homes simply won’t be seen. It’s going to be incredibly painful for advertisers, for the whole television industry, if they don’t comprehend the urgency of that." So what’s a billion dollar industry to do?

Most solutions bring up that ever-present buzzword: interactive. TiVo has already begun aggressively incorporating embedding advertising throughout its navigation menus. As of July, TiVo teamed up with Amazon to make it possible to purchase related products while watching specific shows with their remote control. Although this could be a powerful new marketing tool, other DVR systems (which are the vast majority of the market) haven’t followed suit yet. Most industry analysts remain skeptical of the potential, but at this point, who can say exactly what direction it will take?

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