TiVo Rats You Out to the Man

Or "tattles," as The New York Times put it. In an effort to mend fences with frazzled advertisers, TiVo's new research division will sell data on its 4.4 million users and their ad-viewing habits or lack thereof. Ad skipping is a hot issue—ABC's ad-sales chief is actually trying to convince cable operators to "disable the fast-forward" on their DVRs! Half of TiVo use is time shifting and 70 percent of that group has a finger on the fast-forward button. But TiVo hopes data on specific commercials will help advertisers design better ones. The researchers will sample 20,000 TiVo users per night, reporting back what was watched and when. More specific details on viewer demographics won't be revealed due to TiVo's privacy policy though the company told the Times that may change by year-end. With the feds demanding logs from the major search engines, TiVo's data mining may be the least of our problems.

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