TiVo launches on-demand commercial content

TiVo Product Watch offers subscribers the option of watching on-demand content from advertisers. Photos: TiVo's ad hook

Candace Lombardi
In a software-driven world, it's easy to forget about the nuts and bolts. Whether it's cars, robots, personal gadgetry or industrial machines, Candace Lombardi examines the moving parts that keep our world rotating. A journalist who divides her time between the United States and the United Kingdom, Lombardi has written about technology for the sites of The New York Times, CNET, USA Today, MSN, ZDNet, Silicon.com, and GameSpot. She is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not a current employee of CNET.
Candace Lombardi
2 min read
Even as consumers are finding new ways to avoid watching commercials, TiVo is hoping to steer viewers toward on-demand advertiser content.

TiVo Product Watch, launched Monday, offers content ranging in length from 1 minute to sixty minutes. The offerings include infomercials, how-to videos on operating products, cooking segments and short movies with product placement.

"TiVo Product Watch provides a unique opportunity to engage consumers who are actively seeking out information about our client's products and services," Jason Maltby, the president of MindShare, a media services agency that works with advertisers, said in a statement released by TiVo.

Photos: TiVo?s ad hook

The ad style varies widely, depending on the advertiser, according to TiVo.

Kraft Foods, for example, is offering how-to cooking segments that include its products, while Ford offers a series of Penn and Teller skits that feature a Ford vehicle in the background. Sony Pictures is offering movie trailers.

General Motors and Lending Tree are also participating in the program.

Subscribers can search for content by category or subscribe to brand-based content. Users can also create searches based on their interests, as they currently do for television programs.

Maltby sees the new TiVo feature as a tool to help advertisers understand how consumers who "demonstrate a high propensity for commercial avoidance" react when presented with an opt-in option.

This latest technology is just one of many the media world is testing to combat viewers? tendency to skip commercials--a practice made relatively easy by DVRs. Tivo has offered features in the past that allowed consumers to get more information from advertisers, whether through special programming or via commercials.

According to TiVo, which originally announced development of the program last year, it has signed on more than 70 advertisers for over 100 brands. Advertising revenue for TiVo Product Watch comes from a set-up fee for the content and from fees based on the number of downloads.

TiVo did not disclose details of specific advertising deals.