"We say upfront because it's an upfront commitment. We didn't hold a conference … but Interpublic has signed up for a long-term deal," said Davina Kent, TiVo VP-national advertising sales, adding that the deal lasts through the end of the year. "There is a strategic element and an economies-of-scale element to it."
The economy of scale is, of course, better pricing in return for committed dollars. The strategic part is less concrete but in general affords Interpublic, and its clients, a bigger say in TiVo's ad-product development.
TiVo and Emerging Media Lab executives came to the deal after working closely on TiVo's recently launched Product Watch, which allows viewers to search a database of commercial information (spots ranging from one minute to one hour) from more than 70 marketers.
More to come
The first Interpublic client to take advantage of the TiVo upfront buy is Sony Pictures, which has begun running advertising for "The DaVinci Code." Ms. Kent declined to name other advertisers, but said "a handful of others are already interested" and expects more Interpublic client advertising will appear over the next few months.
Before these latest deals, only two Interpublic clients had appeared on TiVo -- J&J's Tylenol and Sony Pictures.
"Even though TiVo doesn't bring a huge subscriber base, 4.5 million to 5 million people, the value is that they are a relatively dedicated one," said Yankee Group analyst Adi Keshore. "And the other more important value is that TiVo has been doing this for a couple of years and have more experience than anyone else. ... It's a pretty solid credential for TiVo."
And while the deal may be a first between TiVo and ad agencies, it will likely not be the last. When asked if TiVo anticipates similar deals, Ms. Kent said, "Yes," and when further questioned about any forthcoming announcements, she added, "We hope so."