TiVo buying ad track company

TiVo is to acquire full ownership in TRA, a research company with a system that matches up television viewing with consumer buying habits.

The NYT reports TiVo will spend about $20 million to buy out other investors in TRA.  “We believe television is at an inflection point,” Tom Rogers, TiVo CEO said. “In the digital realm you measure click by click and get increasingly granular information. This kind of metric has not developed well in the television space before now.”
TRA acquires this data by collecting information from 1.5 million set-top cable boxes and matching the viewers (anonymously) with information gleaned from “loyalty cards” presented at supermarkets, as well as with other measurements, like car-registration information.

TRA has signed numerous clients in its five years of existence, including 27 cable and broadcast networks and 45 different advertising brands.

Mark Lieberman, the chairman of TRA (he will continue in that role after the acquisition), pointed to one study the company did based on sales of shampoo. Four cable networks were measured. One, MTV, had by far the biggest sales to shampoo advertisers, based on its young audience. But a cable network with a much older audience, TNT, had more than twice as many shampoo-buyers watching its shows.

Plans for extensive expansion of TRA’s operations will be enhanced, Lieberman said, by the alliance with TiVo, which has a large store of capital — as much as $600 million, Rogers noted, from patent litigation based on its original invention of the digital video recorder.

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