*TiVo* is adding local data to its Stop|Watch TV ratings service, giving advertisers a more granular read on how and when its subscribers are tuning in. The company has sold its anonymized viewing data since 2007, but only for national programming and commercials; the local data goes live this summer. TiVo (NSDQ: TIVO) is increasingly focusing on making money from its data, particularly amid growing interest in ad targeting through services like *Google* TV Ads and Canoe Ventures. Competition from multiple set-top box makers is also chewing into its subscriber base.
TiVo is aiming squarely at Nielsen with this new product. With over 3 million subscribers, TiVo's local samples range in size from 25,000 in the largest markets to 5,000 in smaller ones, and the data is collected automatically on a second-by-second basis; Nielsen's local samples are in the 400 to 900 user range, and in some smaller markets, rely on user-reported diaries.
But there are some caveats. Nielsen spokesman Gary Holmes told USA Today that Nielsen's ratings "reflect the viewing behavior of all households, not just those who have DVRs." And Tivo's audience research and measurement general manager conceded that its own data might be a bit skewed because TiVo subscribers tended to be more affluent, better educated and "unfortunately, a little more white" than the overall population.
By Tameka Kee