Upfront 07

Media Buyers Intrigued by Fox Plan for Updated DVR Ads

But Say It's No Guarantee Ads Will Be Watched

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Will updating time-sensitive ads when they're played back on digital video recorders be the answer to commercial engagement in a live-plus-seven age? Jon Nesvig hopes so.
Fox sales chief Jon Nesvig
Fox sales chief Jon Nesvig Credit: Jeff Weiner

The Fox sales chief said he filed a patent to develop a proprietary technology with TiVo that would allow advertisers and agencies to replace their own ads in a commercial pod with updated, timely spots on commercial playback.

Timely commercials
"Each morning we can send new commercials to the box, so that whenever the viewer plays it back, a timely commercial appears," Mr. Nesvig said during a panel at a MediaPost event in New York yesterday. A TiVo spokesman confirmed that the company has had discussions with Fox but would not confirm any of the specifics Mr. Nesvig mentioned in the panel.

For media buyers, the opportunity to have of-the-moment ads for their auto and movie clients -- the two categories most likely to be affected by Fox's system -- isn't quite enough. "Ideally, we'd like it so that nobody fast-forwarded through any commercial," said Shari Cohen, co-executive director, national broadcast, MindShare. "I don't even know if it's possible to create a greater relevancy to watching it live rather than on a home basis. The spots are still going to be fast-forwarded through."

Andy Donchin, senior VP-national broadcast at Carat, said he didn't know much about Fox's specific pitch, but is still open to new executions with playback devices when upfront metrics still haven't been agreed upon. "That's what we're all debating right now," he said.

TiVo deal with Interpublic
Earlier this week, TiVo announced that Interpublic Group of Cos. -- which includes media shops Magna Global, Initiative and Universal McCann -- has subscribed to the TiVo Stop Watch ratings service, which tracks second-by-second commercial viewership on time-shifted content.

Larry Blasius, Magna's director-negotiations, in a statement said, "The data provided by TiVo Stop Watch ratings service will start to provide us with the ability to help our clients better understand today's DVR-enabled television viewer, so we can refine our creative and media buying strategies as DVRs proliferate. It also complements the extensive proprietary commercial pod analyses Magna Global has conducted, and will help us determine the dynamics of commercial pods built up from seconds compared to those limited to minute data currently available from Nielsen."

With the upfront's May 14 start date just weeks away, Ms. Cohen said the currency conversion continues to be the biggest issue on the table. "It's a matter of what's the right price. There's a couple of big hurtles to get through because these are major changes to the industry and have to be sorted out."
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