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Nielsen, TiVo Team on DVR Measurement

Nielsen Media Research and TiVo Inc. are planning to work together on measuring viewing in the homes of the latter's customers, but the companies have no plans to measure how many ads digital video recorder owners skip.

TiVo president Marty Yudkovitz said TiVo can generate customized reports for advertisers that measure how viewers skip ads, but he said Nielsen doesn't want to generate reports that detail ad-skipping habits of TiVo users.

"It's because of their own personal objectives as to what they want to measure," Yudkovitz said.

Rather than measuring commercial viewing, Nielsen vice president of marketing and communications Karen Gyimesi said the measurement company is more interested in gauging the viewing of individual TV programs in TiVo homes, including which shows TiVo users record.

"It really comes down to the program, when they're viewing the programming. That's our first priority," Gyimesi added.

With more households using DVRs from outside vendors like TiVo or accessing such applications from cable or satellite providers, advertisers are wary that their messages are being ignored entirely or fast-forwarded through.

Nielsen spokesman Jack Loftus said Nielsen is also talking to cable and satellite providers about possibly measuring DVR usage in cable and satellite homes.

In the meantime, Nielsen and TiVo are in the early stages of developing a ratings system for TiVo homes, and they don't expect to generate their first monthly reports for advertisers for about another year, Yudkovitz said.

Nielsen plans to pick a sample of 10,000 to 20,000 TiVo households which will be asked to agree to have their viewing habits measured, Yudkovitz said. That's much larger than Nielsen's National People Meter sample, which relies on data from 5,100 Nielsen homes.

TiVo and Nielsen will generate detailed monthly reports on DVR usage, measuring everything except how many ads are viewed.

"What we can show is what part of the show did people decide to drop out on, and where did they go and where did they come from, and if they did record it, did they replay some if it, or did they fast-forward through it?" Yudkovitz said.

TiVo expects to collect additional revenue from the ratings service from both Nielsen and from selling the reports to advertisers, Yudkovitz said.

Separately, Nielsen is looking to measure interactive program guide usage through a partnership with Gemstar-TV Guide International Inc. The companies expect to detail plans for a consumer trial that will measure IPG usage within the next few weeks, Gyimesi said.