'Marketplace' Report: NBC Turns to Tivo Data NBC Universal has become the first major TV broadcaster to strike a deal with TiVo for the right to use the company's second-by-second ratings of programs and commercials.
NPR logo

'Marketplace' Report: NBC Turns to Tivo Data

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/16655743/16655720" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
'Marketplace' Report: NBC Turns to Tivo Data

'Marketplace' Report: NBC Turns to Tivo Data

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/16655743/16655720" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

ALEX COHEN, host:

From NPR News, it's DAY TO DAY.

NBC and TiVo signed a big deal today. The agreement will allow NBC to use the information TiVo collects about its subscribers. The deal is the first of its kind.

And here to tell us about it is MARKETPLACE's Nancy Marshall-Genzer.

Nancy, what kind of data exactly are we talking about here?

NANCY MARSHALL-GENZER: Well, believe it or not, we're talking about second by second data. TiVo will be able to tell NBC second by second what types of programs people are watching and what types of commercials they're watching or not watching if they're sort of speeding through those commercials. So everything that NBC would want to know about viewers' habits.

COHEN: And what exactly is NBC going to do with this information it gets from TiVo?

MARSHALL-GENZER: Well, NBC is going to sell this information to advertisers. It's also going to be selling interactive tags. So if you are zapping through a commercial and you actually want to know more about what they're advertising, you can click on this tag and that will pop the companies up, name up, and you'll be able to see more about the company and about the product, even if you previously zapped through that ad.

COHEN: Pretty tricky, TiVo. Okay, so Nancy, why would NBC want this data?

MARSHALL-GENZER: Well, as I said, this data is second by second, believe it or not. And the current data available from TiVo's competitor Nielsen is minute by minute.

Now, I put this question to Larry Witt. He's an analyst at Morningstar. And he says this new data from TiVo could actually give NBC a leg up on its competition.

Mr. LARRY WITT (Stock Analyst, Morningstar): So if NBC is saying I can you know, tell you exactly who's watching, you know, your shows or the shows and the advertising, and ABC can't, then NBC might be able to charge a premium for its advertising during its shows.

MARSHALL-GENZER: And not only that, TiVo is going to be offering NBC more information about things like demographics, viewer's ages, their incomes, even their marital status and their ethnicity. So it's a huge package of information that TiVo is offering here.

COHEN: Is this the way of the future? Do you think TiVo at some point might outstripped the Nielsens of the world?

MARSHALL-GENZER: Well, it's hard to say at this point because Nielsen is pretty well entrenched. It's pretty much number one in the ratings game. I did, again, put that question to Larry Witt, the analyst at Morningstar. And he actually said this TiVo data may not be all it's cracked up to be.

Mr. WITT: It might be the case that only a certain type of person actually goes and buys a $900 TiVo. So maybe you're not getting a true representation of the American population by just using the TiVo data. So there is, you know, some downside to using strictly TiVo's data at this point.

MARSHALL-GENZER: Now, one important question that's unanswered - how much NBC paid for this new data from TiVo. They're not saying.

COHEN: Thank you very much.

That's Nancy Marshall-Genzer of public radio's daily business show, MARKETPLACE. It's produced by American Public Media.

Copyright © 2007 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.