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TiVo To Catalog TV Ads Into Searchable Index For Subscribers

The Wall Street Journal reports that TiVo is introducing a new feature that induces users to search for ads. The controversial company, which founded the digital video recorder--a service many predicted signaled the end of the 30-second TV spot-- is now partnering with several major advertising firms including Interpublic's Interpublic Group, Omnicom Group's OMD, Publicis' Starcom MediaVest Group, Dallas agency Richards Group, and Comcast Corp.'s Comcast Spotlight ad sales division, to allow its users to search for commercials centered around a specific topic. TiVo users will be able to set up a profile of products on their TV screens by clicking on categories like consumer goods or travel or by typing in brand names like "BMW." TiVo will then regularly update commercials to its recorders via the Internet and make them searchable through a folder appearing on TiVo's welcome screen. Advertisers, then, will select the keywords and categories they wish their ads to be associated with. Pricing models are still being worked out, but one option is to use the bid model deployed by Internet search firms Google and Overture Services. To say the least, it will be interesting to see how such a move plays with consumers, who often use their digital video recorders to avoid TV commercials. The service is expected to launch this spring.

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