A game-changing ad placement by Tivo

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by 056557, Dec 17, 2007.

  1. 056557

    056557 edanieli

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    This weekend, I experienced for the first time TiVo’s "fast-forward" ad placement. If you haven't seen it yet, you will.

    It was fast-forwarding through a set of commercials, one of which was by American Express Card. As the ad fast-forwarded, a solid banner appeared in the middle of the fast-forwarding image (along with an innocuous beep), prompting me to click the green thumbs-up button for more information.

    I was amazed, and frankly not sure what I had just seen. So I did exactly what the designers of this ad placement hoped I'd do. I rewound and watched the ad at regular speed, waiting to see the pop-up again (which does not appear when the ad is played at regular speed).

    So I rewound again, and tried fast forwarding through the ad again to trigger the pop-up. In fact I rewound a number of times just to see if the pop-up was triggered at each of the 3 fast-forward speeds. It was.

    Of course, I clicked the thumbs-up button just to see where Tivo took me, then how Tivo returned me to the recorded program.

    I realize that there are many out there that despise advertising in any form (especially on Tivo), but I think we have to give Tivo credit for the brilliance of this ad placement and the technology behind it.

    First, why this ad placement is truly brilliant. Nowhere else in the Tivo experience is the user paying more attention to what’s on the screen than when they are fast-forwarding through commercials. Why? Because they want to resume normal playback speed exactly at the right moment. Admit it. Some of us (men) pride ourselves that we can hit that Play button at the exact right moment (even during the fastest of the fast-forward speeds) so that playback resumes after all the commercials are over. In fact, we quickly grab the remote from someone else (like my wife) when we discover they're not particularly good at this.

    So here I am, precisely monitoring hyper-commercials on the screen as they fast-forward before my eyes at blazing speed, when all of a sudden I hear a beep and see a persistent message on the screen that I can actually read. It pops up for a moment (long enough to register the brief message in my brain) then disappears again. I was stunned.

    After thinking through this, I have to acknowledge the brilliance of the placement. It’ even more impressive if TiVo is able to track various types of these impressions; e.g., the number of initial impressions triggered, the number of “repeat” impressions triggered (i.e., when I rewind, only to fast-forward again to catch the pop-up), and of course the number of thumbs-up click-throughs.

    I gotta hand it to whoever came up with this one. It will be intriguing to learn how successful it will be over time, however I think that TiVo may just have turned the dread of the DVR in the advertising industry (ignored commercials) into one of the most effective ad placements of all time. Now, those fast-forwarded commercials are an advertiser's opportuity. It’s brilliant, and should receive an advertising industry award.
     
  2. kmill14

    kmill14 New Member

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    Fascinating write-up! So what happened after you hit the Green Thumb? Where did it take you, and how did it place you back into your recorded show?


    I think the way TiVo is going about this ad-placement is pretty smart. It shouldn't upset us as users given that we can just skip past it if we choose like every other ad. On the other hand, it gives TiVo a new revenue stream without forcing us to pay another dime.
     
  3. rainwater

    rainwater Active Member

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    It will take you to one of the Showcase ads. If you look there you will probably see nothing but credit cards so it isn't surprising that the ad the poster saw was for a credit card commercial.
     
  4. ZeoTiVo

    ZeoTiVo I can't explain

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    The billboard ad has been out for a year or so but does not show up a lot yet. The chime was added very recently to draw attention to the thumbs-up on the ad.

    For myself I ignore them since none have been about anything of interest to me.

    as the fall TV season was geraring up I did drop back to 1x or 2xx FF so I could catch the thumbs up on new fall shows and setup a season pass. Those I found extremely useful.
     
  5. 056557

    056557 edanieli

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    Sep 24, 2006

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    The ad took me to a simple text message that told me where on the internet I could get more info on the product being advertised. It then returned be to the exact point in the recording when I had hit the green key.

    It is pretty impressive (technologically) that TiVo can now distinguish between (i.e., identify) recorded commercials and place a pop-up ad on the screen only when a given ad is being fast-forwarded and remove the pop-up ad at the end of the commercial.

    The real question, though, is whether TiVo has the guts (and the legal team) to run a pop-up ad WHEVEVER commercials are being fast-forwarded. That is, why not off an advertiser the now-wasted moments when pop-ups are not appearing on top of commercials that are being fast-forwarded? SO, in a 90-second commercial break where 2-4 ads are being fast forwarded, why not let another advertiser use that entire fast-forwarded segment to pop-up an ad? Evan at the fastest fast-forward speed, the ad would have a hang-time of at least 10 seconds, right?

    Wow. That is an enormously huge opportunity. Will TiVo have the guts to try it? Let's see.
     
  6. stevel

    stevel Dumb Blond TCF Club

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    It doesn't. The producer of the ad (or the network distributing it) adds codes to the "vertical blanking interval" which is not displayed on the TV but contains various sets of data. The TiVo watches the VBI and looks for the right code. In this case, it would be a signal that says "if the user is fast-forwarding over this, show message ID 12345".

    This reminds me of the ads that ReplayTV added while one paused a show - this was universally disliked. It would also annoy me if it prevented me from easily seeing when the program started again so I could resume play.
     
  7. TriBruin

    TriBruin Well-Known Member TCF Club

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    I can (almost) promise you will NEVER see Tivo overlay an ad that is directly tied to the advertisement below it. The legal trouble they could and would get in to for that would be enormous. You think ReplayTV got sued out of existence, watch the advertisers do the same thing to Tivo.

    The American Express ad you say was paid by American Express. The realize that people are fast forwarding (and not watching) their ads, so put something else up in it's place.

    The mechanism is very simple, there is a small amount of data in the non-viewable portion of the video feed.The advertisers encodes the video signal when producing the ad and sends to the tv stations for broadcast.
    Tivo recognizes this data and associates with an ad (and graphics) it has previously downloaded.

    And yes these Ads have been around for at least a year (maybe even two.) They come and go. Mostly I see them associated with advertisements for other TV shows (and Thumbs up takes to the option to record the show.) But other advertisers are using them now to.
     
  8. 056557

    056557 edanieli

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    Sep 24, 2006
    Yes, I do recall your mention of the green button option coming up while looking at an ad at regular speed, however until this weekend I had never seen a pop-up overlay a commercial ONLY when the ad was being fast-forwarded. When I rewound and looked at the same ad at regular speed, the pop-up did not appear. That was new to me.
     
  9. ScottUrman

    ScottUrman Member

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    Of course, those of us who use 30 second skip don't see them at all. It would be awfully hard to get a pop up to work in the 1/4 of a second or so before I hit the magic button again... :)
     
  10. CharlesH

    CharlesH Member

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    The idea is that if you are fast-forwarding, a static popup image is likely more effective than the fast-forwarded video. At regular speed they want you to see their video, with possibly a green-thumb jump to some pre-recorded content. It's part of how TiVo is trying to help the advertisers adapt to DVRs and be less hostile in particular toward TiVos (and also bring in a few $$ to TiVo). The overlay ad is paid for by the same company who bought the original ad, so you will never see a Pepsi ad overlaying a Coca Cola ad. :)
     
  11. pdhenry

    pdhenry Ruthless

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    FYP, I think. The Progressive ads are overlaid with a Prgressive banner, as another example.

    I'm generally staring intently at the upper left corner of the screen while I'm FFing, waiting for the TV rating bug that tells me the program has restarted. I am still pretty much able to ignore the banner ads. The tone that the TiVo plays when you FF through the "thumbs-up for more" overlay in the upper right is a bit more unnerving.
     
  12. astrohip

    astrohip Well-Known Raconteur TCF Club

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    Interesting. I never thought of doing that. I used to wait for the screen to go widescreen on me, as most commercials were SD, and most shows I watch are HD. That worked well until the last 3-4 months. Advertisers have caught on how crappy an SD ad looks on an HD broadcast, and I am seeing a much greater percent HD ads now.

    I'll try your trick tonight. Or whenever the strike ends and I have some new shows to watch . . . :mad:
     
  13. astrohip

    astrohip Well-Known Raconteur TCF Club

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    Kudos on a positive post. So many threads about TiVo ads are so negative. Yours was a breath of fresh air.

    Thanks! :up::up:
     
  14. MickeS

    MickeS Well-Known Member

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    :D :D :D :D

    Oh, you're serious... you must not know how much people in this forum can ***** about ads that have no effect whatsoever on their viewing or TiVo use.

    Since I rarely use 30 second skip I have not seen these particular ads much, but I have come across a few over the years. I agree that they are a great and unobtrusive way to get a viewers attention.
     
  15. Atomike

    Atomike New Member

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    You MEAN to say "ads that have no effect whatsoever on MY (MickS's) viewing or Tivo use."
    You have no idea what my (Atomike's) viewing or Tivo use is like, and therefore, logically, you are completely unequipped to speak on this issue. If you've ever been in my living room, then you may have a point. However you have not. So you don't.
    By the way, if you're really excited about Tivo getting us to watch stuff, then I imagine you should really get rid of your Tivo and watch commercials. Otherwise, you're just excited that Tivo is getting OTHER people to watch ads.

    Regardless, the rules of logic are crying from that post.
     
  16. pdhenry

    pdhenry Ruthless

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    So Atomike, are you saying the new ads interfere with your viewing? Do tell! What do you have to do that's different with the new ads?
     
  17. ZeoTiVo

    ZeoTiVo I can't explain

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    well he never really said they changed anything, just that MickeS was not privvy to AtomMikes super secret way to use a TiVo DVR ;)

    Course the stretch of wnating to view any ad must mean you like only ads was my favorite twist of logic. The whole thing seemed familiar yet somehow very different from posts I have made :D
     
  18. kmill14

    kmill14 New Member

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    atomike, I missed the part of your post where you confirmed that Tivo's ad trigger thumb inhibits your use of your Tivo DVR or forces you to watch advertisements you otherwise would not have.

    "By the way, if you're really excited about Tivo getting us to watch stuff, then I imagine you should really get rid of your Tivo and watch commercials."


    I think at least some people are happy to have a choice with whether or not they would like to watch a commercial, and which ones. Did Tivo take that choice away?
     
  19. mattack

    mattack Well-Known Member

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    I (the vast vast majority of the time) 30 sec skip through commercials. It takes (or at least *seems* to take) less time, though I'm still paying attention to the screen to figure out when the ads end. Though I usually wham 4-6 times on the skip button so see NONE of the first several commercials.
     
  20. MickeS

    MickeS Well-Known Member

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    Please tell me how your TV viewing or TiVo use has been affected by this ad method.
     

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