Word of the agreement comes a day after a major player on the sell-side, NBC Universal, signed a deal with TiVo. In theory, NBCU could work with Carat--and others on the buy-side receiving the ratings, Starcom and Interpublic--to craft some deals. The guarantees would be based on the most granular viewer-retention metric for specific spots, albeit limited to the TiVo universe.
The data gauges viewer behavior during live viewing and fast-forwarding, when watching on a time delay (from less than an hour up to 14 days after live broadcast). The findings provide further insight into consumer use of DVRs vis-à-vis commercials.
The second-by-second ratings are derived from a daily anonymous sample of 20,000 TiVo homes. The service is branded TiVo Stop||Watch.
The bulk of upfront deals this year were done using commercial ratings, but those are derived from the average of all spots in a particular program. Second-by-second data allows a telescoping option for a particular ad.
Starcom has shown a hunger for second-by-second metrics, cutting a deal this spring using guarantees for its spots on Discovery's HD network. The data employed, however, comes from TiVo competitor, TNS Media Research, which MTV and Scripps also receive. That's derived from a larger sample than TiVo's--from some 300,000 set-top boxes operated by Charter Communications in Los Angeles.
Of course, multiple questions are raised about what conclusions can be drawn from either the TiVo or Charter L.A. sample, since TiVo users arguably are more upscale and tech-savvy than the population at-large. Los Angeles residents may also have different viewing patterns.
"With such a granular level of viewer behavioral research at our fingertips, we can gauge the effectiveness of clients' marketing campaigns with a high level of detail and accuracy," said CEO Sarah Fay of the Carat deal. Fay added that the data can help "bring the accountability and measurability associated with the Internet to the largest form of media--television."
TiVo's Todd Juenger added: "Marketers no longer need to guess or approximate fast-forwarding behavior and the audience for their commercials. With second-by-second data, with demographic and custom segmentations, from a sizeable sample of DVR households, advertisers can finally calculate a precise ROI for their media investment, and optimize that investment over time."