Tivo Zeitgeist

Why is there no regularly-updated Tivo Zeitgeist page, like the Google Zeitgeist?

Tivo reports oscars viewing behavior

The war-related comments by Oscar winners Michael Moore and Adrien Brody were the most replayed part Sunday's Academy Awards broadcast, according to TiVo, the personal video recorder technology company.

The single most paused or freeze-framed event of the live show was the stage entrance of presenter Julia Roberts.

[...] TiVo also reported that viewership dropped off heavily during commercials in the Oscars show, but speculated that this was because viewers were using commercial breaks to tune into other sources of news programming to follow the dramatic events of the war in Iraq. [yeah, right!]

The measurement of audience behavior was based on a review of 10,000 of TiVo anonymous subscribers' viewing patterns during the broadcast.

No stats on fast-forwarding? This article seems to imply that all of these people were watching the show live, which I would never do. After your first week with Tivo you catch on that there's no benefit at all to watching TV live instead of time-shifted, because that just means that you can't fast-forward.

I hadn't realized they collected stats on pausing, etc. That must be a lot of data. But I guess it compresses well.

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16 Responses:

  1. zonereyrie says:

    Oh yeah, basically every keypress is logged. I think the data they report are from people who watch 'live' - but like you said, why would you want to do that? Since I've had my TiVos the only time I bother with LiveTV is for breaking news, and that's rare. I watch everything delayed, skip the ads (SPS30S) and save time. They do gzip things for upload, so it is fairly compact and it doesn't take long.

  2. jacen says:

    I find it mildly frightening that Tivo is keeping stats on it's users. I thought Tivo was an autonomous product that you use how you wish after purchase (like a VCR or DVD player), not a direct line to the corporate profiling center that no doubt sells such stats to retail marketers and most likely Gov't watchdogs. I haven't ever seen one outside of Best Buy but I don't like anything that keeps tabs on my personal life.

    • jwz says:

      Their privacy policy says they anonymize all the data they collect and "have no way" to access personally-identifiable info without your prior consent. It doesn't seem unreasonable to me. I'm ok with my aggregate viewing habits being used for marketing: proving that people watch them is the only way that expensive shows like Farscape don't get cancelled (oops, it didn't work.)

      If you have a DirecTivo, you can ensure that they get nothing from you by just not plugging it into a phone line: that will make it impossible for you to buy pay-per-view movies, but you'll still get your program listings off the satellite.

      • violetiae says:

        proving that people watch them is the only way that expensive shows like Farscape don't get cancelled (oops, it didn't work.)

        I was reading a TV Guide article on Sci-Fi's upcoming new show, Tremors, and was pissed off at the part that said:

        "Sci-Fi Channel executives are hoping those rabid fans [fans of the Tremors films] will make the series a monster hit, continuing the network's winning streak: Last December's alien abduction miniseries, Taken, became Sci Fi's top-rated show in history, with 31 million viewers; and Stargate SG-I, a Trek-ish action-adventure series, powered Sci Fi to its best February ratings ever. Now all eyes are on Tremors, even though it's a bit more, well, down to earth."

        And all I could think was gee, they already had a series that had a ton of rabid fans and they cancelled it.

        • jwz says:

          I'm sure Tremors is a hell of a lot cheaper to make than Farscape was. They don't need any sets, let alone costumes. They'll make bank on it even if they only get a fraction of Farscape's audience.

          I kind of enjoyed the Tremors movies (they were dumb but kinda funny), so I would be looking forward to the series, had they not poisoned it for me by making it obvious that it's supposed to be the Farscape replacement.

          • violetiae says:

            Oh, absolutely, the Tremors movies are great. Total guilty pleasures. And I'll prolly watch the series. But the whole time, in the back of my head, I'm going to be convinced they'll yank it when I fall in love with it. This is my track record with series I really like. But then, I guess everyone feels that way, since everyone has had shows they loved cancelled at some point or other.

  3. brad says:

    I wonder if they log me hitting PLAY every 2 seconds just to watch the display on the bottom turn on and off to appease my boredom....

  4. violetiae says:

    This is very disturbing. Just the thought that someone somewhere could be keeping track of all my pauses and slow-motion replays of HBO's Real Sex is very creepy. (Almost more creepy than the fact that I pause and slo-mo late-night cable sex shows.)

    • jwz says:

      And now everyone on the interweb knows, too!

      Don't you find that liberating?

      • violetiae says:

        Yes, in a not-really, paradoxical sort of way.

        Oddly, the idea of a million people online knowing doesn't bother me, but the idea of TiVo keeping tabs on people for statistical purposes (and god only knows what else) does. I can't explain it. It's probably that I knowingly and willingly put one out there, and I just found out about the other after being oblivious to it for several years.

        But then, I didn't know about that Google Zeitgeist thing, either, and now I'm going, "Oh crap, I didn't do a Google search for Michael Jackson or Don Johnson or the Dixie Chicks, did I?" (Thankfully, no, no, and no.)

      • ciphergoth says:

        OK, I thought it was just the London goths who were using it. What is this sudden fashion for using 1994-era clueless-journalist-isms for the Internet?

        PS I don't slo-mo my way through late night cable TV soft porn, but do you think maybe I should?

  5. people were probably watching live, for the most part, because it's an awards thing. i don't understand it myself, but i'd imagine it's like people who watch sports -having- to watch it as it's happening because the value somehow diminishes if they don't see it until later.

    yesterday i actually had somebody try to wheedle out of a social engagement because they -had- to watch american idol, and videotaping was out of the question for some reason.

  6. jfedor says:

    Next step: they track your eyeballs and log which parts of the screen you look at.

    Does Tivo have zoom?