NBC Universal has agreed to start offering interactive advertising services through TiVo DVRs and will subscribe to the company’s ratings service.
The agreement covers 14 NBC Universal networks and its 10 NBC-owned TV stations, the companies said.
NBC networks will have the ability to offer advertisers interactive capabilities in any commercials they run.
The capabilities include the insertion of TiVo “tags” in commercials to enable viewers to click on an icon that pops up on the screen to obtain more information about the featured item, the companies said.
NBC Universal said it will also purchase ratings data TiVo gleans anonymously from its subscribers on a second-by-second basis to gauge viewership of commercials and programming.
In other TiVo news, the company said it will introduce next year an external adapter that will enable TiVo digital video recorders that use CableCARDs to access switched digital cable channels without a set-top box.
TiVo said specifications for the interface to the new adapter were developed through discussions among cable operators, CableLabs, TiVo and other cable vendors.
Switched digital technology enables cable operators to squeeze many more channels into the bandwidth of their cable pipelines. The cable industry said the technology “will become even more critical as the February 2009 digital TV transition approaches,” and cable operators are required to carry both a digital and analog signals of local broadcast stations.
Switched digital also allows cable operators to transmit channels to customers on an as-needed basis, and it provides cable operators more flexibility to deliver the interactive digital services, high-definition channels, broadband Internet and digital phone service that consumers are craving, according to a statement from the National Cable and Telecommunications Association (NCTA).
The new external adapter will attach to TiVo Series 3 HD DVRs and TiVo HD DVRs to enable the DVRs access all of a cable operator’s digital channels including switched digital ones.
The adapter will work on any Unidirectional Digital Cable Ready Product (UDCP) that has a USB connector and necessary firmware, TiVo said.