TiVo CEO: Popular TV doesn't mean watched ads

Tom Rogers says that a show's ratings don't necessarily correlate to the most popular advertisements.

CARLSBAD, Calif.--The idea that just because a TV show is popular that lots of people are watching the accompanying ads is a myth, says Tom Rogers.

And Rogers would know. As TiVo's CEO, Rogers has access to data that shows just how many people watch how many seconds of which commercial. Now, obviously that correlation is greater among non-TiVo customers, who don't have the luxury of skipping over the ads. Rogers was interviewed by Kara Swisher at the D6 conference here Thursday.

Still, Rogers said that television needs to fundamentally transition its ad model to one in which advertising is both more appealing to consumers as well as more measurable. More like the Internet, in other words.

Swisher pressed Rogers on how the company has done a better job of popularizing a product category than it has creating a large, profitable business.

"No, the business has not gone as well as the (phenomenon)," Rogers said.

As for becoming synonimous with the DVR, Rogers said "That's a blessing and also a curse," noting that people who have other "contraptions" think they have a TiVo.

He noted that the company has a third business model, in addition to selling subscriptions and offering custom advertising. That's getting royalties from other DVR makers.

Rogers said that the company is close to getting injunctive and financial relief in its long-running case against Echostar and suggested that may help bring others to the table. Still, he said TiVo's first goal is to actually work with cable and satellite providers.

"We want commercial deals," he said. "We sue as a last result."

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