Tivo, the box for people who hate commercials but love TV, is selling research data on people who don't watch the ads that pay the bills. They claim that despite the fast forward button, ad messages do get through, and they certainly reach a passionate TV viewer. So which of the Tivo boxes are getting measured? Direct connects, like the one I own; Direct TV Tivo owners; What about Comcast customers with a Tivo DVR converter? "TiVo says its data will come from most of the DVRs that use its service, including ones that get it from DirecTV. It wouldn't say whether Comcast will participate."
How representative is this audience against national viewership? Todd Juenger, TiVo's audience research and measurement general manager, doesn't worry. "Juenger says TiVo owners tend to be richer, better educated 'and, unfortunately, a little more white' than the overall population, but 'it isn't a gigantic difference.'" Nielsen disagrees. "'Our ratings are based on samples that reflect the viewing behavior of all households, not just those who have DVRs,' says Nielsen spokesman Gary Holmes."
The future is DVR and VOD and live viewership. Whoever best aggregates and analyzes all this data to provide the most accurate research will win.