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TiVo To Rate Commercials

Digital video recorder (DVR) supplier TiVo says it will now use its StopWatch ratings service, which tracks consumer's viewing habits through its TiVo boxes, to measure the popularity of national TV commercials.

The Alviso, Calif.-based company will offer "Top Commercial Rankings" reports, which will measure commercial viewing in various categories tracked on a monthly basis include "Top Total Viewing Commercials compared with Total Viewing of Top Programs"; "Timeshifted Commercials compared with Timeshifted Programs"; and, "Least Fast-forwarded Brand Campaigns." TiVo says it will also track other areas of interest including performance advertising on DVRs in key advertising categories and other customizable information. The move comes as advertisers have been clamoring for more precise information on viewership, a demand which has prompted ratings giant Nielsen to begin measuring commercial viewing.

"For many years, various sources have provided rankings of top programs," said Todd Juenger, Vice President & General Manager, TiVo Audience Research & Measurement, in a statement. "But nobody has ever provided the same type of information for commercials. And this is what marketers really care about -- especially with the proliferation of DVRs. We believe these monthly reports will be both fun and informative, and provide just a small taste of the type of insight into DVR viewing behavior, timeshifting, and specific commercial ratings available to subscribers of TiVo's StopWatch service."

StopWatch currently monitors 15 networks: ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, CW, TNT, TBS, USA, CNN, ESPN, DISC, NIK, MTV, COM and HGTV. TiVo has released measurement data from April and May to show that the link between highly-rated shows and commercials viewership may not be as strong as one might assume; the StopWatch ratings service found the highest rated commercial among TiVo viewers for April appeared in the eighth highest rated program, and that the highest rated program placed only one spot among the top ten commercials. Additionally, four of the five highest rated commercials ran in programs not included in top ten program viewership.

Listed below is a sample of data from April:

April -- Top Commercials v. Top Programs (Total Viewing)

Top Commercials -- Total Viewing

   Brand             Program       Date       Rating

1. Dreamworks Disturbia   Movie House   27-Mar    21.1

2. Chase Freedom Credit Card   CSI     5-Apr    20.4

3. GMC Trucks Acadia    CSI     26-Apr    19.5

4. Dyson Slim Vacuum Cleaner   House    3-Apr    17.5

5. Apple Macintosh Computer   CSI     12-Apr    16.5

6. Universal Georgia Rule Movie  Grey's Anatomy   26-Apr    16.2

7. Burger King Restaurant   American Idol   18-Apr    15.3

8. Ford Auto&Truck Edge & Fusion  American Idol   18-Apr    15.0

9. Cadillac Auto&Truck Various  Grey's Anatomy   19-Apr    15.0

10. Wendy's Restaurant    Grey's Anatomy   26-Apr    15.0

Top Programs -- Total Viewing

Program     Date    Rating

1. Grey's Anatomy   19-Apr   24.5

2. Grey's Anatomy   26-Apr   24.3

3. American Idol    27-Mar   23.2

4. American Idol    10-Apr   22.7

5. American Idol    17-Apr   22.4

6. American Idol    3-Apr   21.4

7. American Idol    18-Apr   20.8

8. House     27-Mar   20.2

9. American Idol    11-Apr   19.9

10. House     17-Apr   19.8

April -- Top Commercials v. Top Programs (Timeshifted Viewing)

Top Commercials - Timeshifted Viewing

Brand       Program    Date    Rating

1. Dreamworks Disturbia    Movie House   27-Mar   14.4

2. GMC Trucks Acadia     CSI     26-Apr   14.4

3. Chase Freedom Credit Card    CSI     5-Apr   14.1

4. Stouffers Corner Bistro Flatbreads  CSI     29-Mar   13.5

5. Dyson Slim Vacuum Cleaner    House    3-Apr   11.0

6. Apple Macintosh Computer    CSI     12-Apr   10.5

7. Olay Body/Radiance RBN Body Wash  CSI     26-Apr   9.6

8. Universal Georgia Rule Movie   Grey's Anatomy   26-Apr   8.8

9. Sony Perfect Stranger Movie   House    27-Mar   8.3

10. Sony Spider-Man 3 Movie    Grey's Anatomy   26-Apr   8.0

Top Programs - Timeshifted Viewing

Program     Date    Rating

1. Grey's Anatomy   26-Apr   17.4

2. Grey's Anatomy   19-Apr   17.2

3. American Idol    27-Mar   15.0

4. American Idol    17-Apr   14.1

5. Lost     25-Apr   13.6

6. Lost     11-Apr   13.6

7. Lost     4-Apr   13.4

8. Desperate Housewives  8-Apr   13.4

9. American Idol    10-Apr   13.4

10. Lost     18-Apr   13.3