TiVo to support advertisers with new technology

MUMBAI: Digital video-recording company TiVo Inc., which is known for its commercial-skipping tools, is now planning to encourage viewers to watch them.

The California-based company has announced plans to insert symbols that identify advertisers during commercial breaks. This helps an interested customer, who will be otherwise fast forwarding through the ad, to halt and watch it. The new campaign will be launched with General Motors and The WB Network commercials.

The ID tags are designed to alert TiVo customers to certain products. Viewers can pause the show they are watching to receive a "long-format" commercial or obtain information about the product.

"TiVo's proprietary advertising technology presents a real opportunity for advertisers to enhance the effectiveness of traditional television advertising," TiVo chief financial officer David Courtney has been quoted in reports as saying.

But analysts are concerned about the new strategy. Encouraging TiVo customers to download ads could be risky, they predict. People subscribe to TiVo's service, which allows customers to make video recordings of their favourite TV shows, primarily to avoid commercials.

The new commercial strategy is the latest attempt by TiVo to generate ad revenue for the company, which has yet to turn a profit since its founding in 1997, point out media reports.

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