Fox's Nesvig Unveils Solution For Time-Shifted Spots: 'Time-Dependent Replacement'

Fox is in talks with TiVo about testing a new, proprietary technology that would enable advertisers and agencies to replace commercials embedded in programs recorded on their digital video recorders with fresh, time-relevant spots. The plan, which was unveiled Thursday by Fox sales chief Jon Nesvig during a panel discussion at MEDIA magazine's Outfront '07 conference in New York, could prove to be a solution to the concerns of some advertisers about the value of time-shifted TV advertising buys.

"As long as that program is on a TiVo, we have the technology in there to have a timely commercial played back," Nesvig said, describing the technology as "time-dependent replacement commercials."

Nesvig said Fox has applied for a patent for the technology, which was developed by Fox engineering chief Andrew Setos, but that a test with TiVo is likely soon. He said he was unclear about some of the technical aspects of the new technology, but that he believed it might be a panacea for debate surrounding the relevancy of time-shifted ad exposures, which has emerged as a one of the central debates surrounding Nielsen's new TV ratings streams, especially how advertisers and agencies might use new average commercial minute ratings in this year's upfront.

Some marketers, especially ones promoting time-sensitive messages such as theatrical movie releases, or retail oriented ads, have said they don't see much value in paying for ads that are time shifted upwards of seven days later. It is a concern that impacts two of the biggest and top-paying ad categories - automotive and movies - which also happen to be two of Fox's biggest categories.

"It will be of value to somebody," Nesvig said of the new time-dependent advertising technology, and he said Fox would likely license it to other networks and technology providers as part of a broader marketplace solution to nonlinear advertising exposures.

While Nesvig deferred technical questions to Fox's engineering department, he described the method as one that would send new spots during the wee hours that would replace older spots recorded on a DVR hard drive.

"Each morning we can send new commercials to the box, so that whenever the viewer plays it back, a timely commercial appears."

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