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Direct Response Marketing

Field Reports

1 Dec, 2004 By: Response Contributor Response


TiVo Helps Advertisers "Tag" Potential Customers

ALVISO, Calif. — TiVo is working to keep everyone smiling — the tenacious advertiser who refuses to relinquish television as a beloved marketing medium and the avid ad-skipper who depends on TiVo to provide the ultimate commercial-free experience. The company's new "tagging" system plans to appease both parties by providing marketers a second chance to promote their products and viewers the same freedom to still say no.

TiVo is America's top digital video recorder (DVR). Since it debuted in 1999, TiVo has provided its subscribers with the convenience and power of choice. They can watch the programs they want — however they want — with personal options, such as fast-forward, rewind, record and, most notably, the ability to skip through advertisements.

Initially, TiVo's growing popularity had many advertisers rubbing their chins and devising a way to embrace the new technology in a way that communicated to consumers effectively despite the likelihood of ad skipping. They are hoping that the new tags on TiVo commercials will provide the solution.

The new tags work the same as the green thumbs-up icons currently in place. A green thumb placed in the corner of an advertisement indicates that there is more information available beyond the spot. If the viewer clicks on the icon, it will direct them to a long-form ad, which can be accessed through an icon on the main menu. The new tags will be small logos representing the advertiser with a few words about the long-form spot.

"We're basically making client commercials interactive, which makes them more valuable to the consumer," said Kimber Sterling, TiVo's director of advertising and research sales.

Viewers can fast-forward through short-form spots 60 times faster than the normal speed. With the logo tags in place, consumers are provided with a second chance to see a few words about the skipped ad. "Our company expanded on the idea of putting consumers in charge of their home entertainment experience and that aspect of what's central to our being is not changing at all from the new ad features," Sterling said.

So far, the new features have proven effective. According to Sterling, 5 to 20 percent of viewers decide to watch a long-form spot each week. The new marketing method is an ideal opportunity for advertisers to initiate a response from consumers.

"All of our enhancements to our software are basically designed to create more value or to create an environment that the user will enjoy navigating," Sterling said.

Kmart, Sears Merge in $11 Billion Deal

TROY, Mich.— On Nov. 17, Kmart Holding Corp. and Sears, Roebuck and Co. announced an agreement to merge into what will now be Sears Holding Corp., the nation's third-largest retail chain following Wal-Mart and Target.
 Sears
Sears

The new retail superstore will earn approximately $55 billion in annual revenues and will own 2,350 full-line and off-mall stores and 1,100 specialty retail stores. Exclusive brands, such as Kmart's Martha Stewart Everyday housewares and Sears' Craftsman tools will also merge and be distributed across retail outlets. However, most stores will still operate under their same Sears and Kmart names.

News of the merger shot Martha Stewart's company, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, up 13 percent on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). Sears' stock jumped more than 22 percent on the NYSE and Kmart gained 17 percent on the NASDAQ.

Kmart stockholders will receive Sears Holdings shares in place of the stock they own and Sears stockholders can either sell their shares for $50 per share or exchange them for 0.5 shares of the new stock.

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