Google Dips Into TV Ad Business By Way Of TiVo

At first glance, TiVo and Google couldn't be further apart. TiVo is a struggling DVR company that is battling with those cable company-issued boxes in an effort to get folks to use their box instead, while Google is a search and software giant that looks to be peeking into practically every aspect of consumer electronics. But then again, if Google is peeking in everywhere, we guess it's no surprise that it's now dabbling in TiVo's business.

In an announcement made this week by the two firms, TiVo and Google have entered into an audience research agreement, whereby "Google will license and integrate TiVo television viewing data into its measurement of audiences for advertisements sold through Google TV Ads platform." Sure, that may sound pretty innocent at first, but what kind of repercussions does it have for TiVo owners and DVR consumers at large? Here's what they say about it:

This deal will enable Google TV Ads to draw on anonymous, second-by-second DVR viewing data from TiVo's stand-alone subscribers to substantially enhance the measurement and accountability of ad impressions for inventory sold using the Google TV Ads auction-based system. The TiVo sample covers all television signal sources including digital cable, analog cable, satellite, telecom and over-the-air television, in live and timeshifted viewing.

"Google TV Ads is focused on enabling advertisers to target and measure television advertising more effectively," said Mike Steib, Google's Director of Emerging Platforms. "This deal with TiVo will give advertisers access to even more anonymized viewership data, making Google's dataset one of the best in the industry. Advertisers can use this data to understand which audiences and ads are most effective, which we think will ultimately lead to more relevant ads for viewers."

Google TV Ads is a flexible, all-digital system for buying more accountable and measurable TV advertising. The system allows advertisers to reach up to 96 million households. With accurate audience measurement and innovative ways to place ad spots, Google TV Ads allows advertisers to do more with less. Since launching in 2007, Google TV Ads has served over 100 billion TV ad impressions.

"Working with Google is an important milestone for our audience research business and represents a shared approach to developing innovative products and services to help the media industry better understand the effectiveness of ad campaigns in an evolving TV landscape," said Todd Juenger, Vice President & General Manager, TiVo Audience Research & Measurement. "Among the many innovative aspects of Google TV Ads, a critical role is in its ability to measure specific commercial ratings not simply averages, which is a key attribute of the TiVo data. By using TiVo's massive samples and second-by-second granularity in its currency measurement, Google TV Ads can now provide an order of magnitude of improved accountability for advertisers."

In other words, Google is dead-set on getting its neck into the TV ad business in some form or another. This particular segment has puzzled marketers for years now; DVRs were once said to be the downfall of television, but in fact viewing has increased since they became a household mainstay. Only time will tell if Google manages to land similar agreements with cable carriers and the like, but if those guys see TiVo profiting from the deal, you can bet it won't be long before their people start calling Google's people.