TiVo Users Soon Can Search for Ads, Google-Style Ad Pricing Possible

Just last week we reported on compelling reasons why Google should acquire Tivo. That argument just got a whole lot stronger with the announcement (WSJ) that Tivo is partnering with several big ad firms to offer its users a system that lets them search for commercials centered around a specific topic.

TiVo users will be able to set up a profile of products on their television screens by clicking on categories such as automotive or travel or typing in keywords such as “BMW” or “cruises.” On a regular basis, TiVo will then download relevant commercials to TiVo recorders over the Internet or, for those users who don’t have broadband, send the video via traditional broadcast signals. The commercials will appear on-screen in a folder next to the list of television shows TiVo users record.

Wait ’til you see how Tivo is considering charging advertisers for these ads.

Advertisers, in turn, will be able to select the keywords and categories with which they wish to be associated for their ads. TiVo is in discussions with advertising agencies about the best way to price such advertising, but one option is to let advertisers bid on keywords as they do when buying ads on Internet search engines.

“The Google model is something we’re reviewing,” says Davina Kent, TiVo’s vice president for national advertising sales.

Tivo would be smart to adopt Google’s ad model. It will make it a whole lot easier for the Mountain View company to consider acquiring them.