Will DVR Kill the TV Adsters?

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Many advertisers gagged at the idea of viewers fast forwarding through commercials when TiVo hit the broadcast scene in 1999. Even seven years later, with more than $60 billion a year poured into ad slots, many still wonder if digital video recording (DVR) means death for television advertising. Recently, TiVo came out with an initiative to turn its bad ad reputation around. The rollout of Audience Research and Measurement (ARM) allows advertisers to gain data and analysis on DVR viewing--a seeming dream in a world where numbers are so hard to come by. However, the question remains: Is DVR a blessing or a curse for advertisers? When the ARM division was announced in July, Tom Rogers, the CEO and president of TiVo, said that it could "transform the way advertising is created, bought, and delivered to customers." However, it remains to be seen how enthusiastic advertisers will be about the move. Although the opportunity to gain hard metrics could be an exciting proposition for advertisers attempting to optimize their commercial spots, Andrew Frank, research director at Gartner, points out the problem with the opt-in service. "Opt-in panels are always under fire from people who don't like the results they deliver. There's plenty of opportunity to find bias." Despite TiVo's attempts to work with advertisers instead of against them, many still view DVR as a threat that they need to either cope with or combat. Some have created ads that get the point across even at fast-forward speed, while others have put more spend into online video. No matter where television advertising turns, one thing's for certain: This is a medium in transition, Frank says. "DVR is the first really disruptive technology, but I think there's going to be a lot more coming down the pike."
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