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Google eyeballs to track Tivo watchers

Pact gives ad giant 'second-by-second' data

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Google has inked a deal with digital video recorder (DVR) outfit Tivo that lets the search firm snoop on audience numbers as a way of fueling its TV advertising business.

Tivo said the agreement allows the Google TV Ads platform to draw anonymous "second-by-second" DVR viewing data from all Tivo subscribers using standalone boxes. Measurements provided to Google covers all television signal sources that run through a Tivo box, including digital cable, analog cable, satellite, telecom, and over-the-air TV — both live and recorded.

The data set is limited, however, to audience measurements of ads sold through Google. This is because Tivo itself makes money selling its own brand of audience research services to television product peddlers.

Google claims access to the figures will "substantially enhance" measuring and accounting of ad impressions for television pitches sold using the Google TV Ads auction-based system.

"Google TV Ads is focused on enabling advertisers to target and measure television advertising more effectively," said Mike Steib, Google's boss of Emerging Platforms in a statement. "This deal with Tivo will give advertisers access to even more anatomized viewership data, making Google's data set one of the best in the industry."

The Mountain View ad broker first jumped into the TV huckster biz back in 2007, and it has since been building an audience-tracking platform that's up-to-snuff with its formidably snoopy online counterparts.

Tivo, interestingly enough, first sprung onto the scene as technology that would let viewers record live TV and skip annoying commercials. But positions do change when it comes time to pay the bills. ®

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