This is kinda creepy. TiVo is partnering with TRA, specifically TRA's Media TRAnalytics research service to license, market, and sell information about how you watch TV. TiVo will sell the data from your household, namely viewing, demographic and purchasing data, albeit anonymously. Whatever. It's still creepy to think someone's watching what I'm watching. Even creepier that they care. Read your privacy notice carefully . . .
Granted, the data will not be connected to customers, so even if they know that I watch Lost, Survivor, and Top Chef, and I TiVo every episode of House, they don't know who I am. Do I want Big Brother to know I'm watching Big Brother?
The database will be built on TiVo's 1.7 million subscribers. This gives TRA a huge database that covers digital cable, analog cable, satellite, and broadcast, whether watched live or time-shifted. This isn't TRA's first dance. They already have agreements with three cable operators, but this is its largest sample pool.
This isn't TiVo's first database service either. An article on Multichannel News explains that TiVo's Stop||Watch ratings service — introduced in February 2007 — is
offered via a database of ratings for nationally run programs and
advertisements from cable and broadcast networks. That information is
derived from a daily, aggregate, anonymous, stratified random sample of
20,000 TiVo units — from which the second-by-second “clickstream” of
behavior and viewership is collected and assessed. TRA subscribers who
are also Stop||Watch subscribers will have access to the total breadth
and depth of both services."
If this data gives advertisers a better understanding of what I want to see advertised during my favorite shows, maybe it's not so creepy after all. Perhaps I won't skip all the ads if they're actually something I'm interested in. —Leslie Shapiro
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