RealTime IT News

TiVo, Lieberman to Put Together DVR-based Panels

In another move aimed at convincing marketers that digital video recorders are their friends, not their enemies, TiVo has teamed with Lieberman Research Worldwide to put the devices to work in market research.

The companies are creating a panel of TiVo subscribers that have agreed to respond to surveys testing promotional and product concepts. The idea is that San Jose, Calif.-based TiVo can distribute movie trailers, promos for TV shows, and new advertising campaigns to the devices, and panelists can voice their opinions on the videos after viewing them.

"We're going to be able to offer leading marketers the opportunity to get almost immediate feedback from a discriminating audience that can view video broadcast to their TiVo," said Brodie Keast, general manager and senior vice president for the TiVo service. "At the same time, we'll be offering our audience a sneak peak at promotions for top films, TV shows, products and entertainment."

TiVo has begun recruiting potential panelists at hotline2hollywood.com, and Los Angeles-based Lieberman says it will begin immediately to offer the custom research offering to its roster of marketing clients. Clients have included BBDO, Bozell, J. Walter Thompson, Grey Worldwide, Disney, Universal Pictures, and a variety of other household name brands.

"The TiVo research panel constitutes a big leap forward in the capabilities of marketers to get critical feedback from opinion leading consumers in the most natural environment ... their living room," said Peggy Einnehmer, senior vice president of Lieberman Research Worldwide.

Although competitor SonicBLUE has never shied from antagonizing marketers -- incorporating a "commercial skip" feature into its devices and drawing legal action from networks -- TiVo has taken a more conciliatory approach. The company has made a practice of automatically recording "showcase" videos onto subscribers' hard drives -- items which are paid for and provided by marketers. Most recently, a preview for the Newline comedy "Austin Powers in Goldmember" was showcased, and around 67 percent of TiVo households viewed it. The video featured the full-length trailer, along with a personal message for TiVo subscribers from Austin Powers star and creator Mike Myers.

Getting TiVo subscribers' feedback on the video is the next step, which is what the company hopes to achieve with Lieberman. The TiVo subscriber base now exceeds 420,000.