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TiVo Offers Post-Program Ad To Beat Fast-Forwarding

TiVo walks a fine line in trying to please both viewers and advertisers.

TiVo is offering advertisers the option of displaying ads at the end of recorded programming in an area not easily bypassed by viewers.

The new product, announced Tuesday, lets advertisers place a link on the "delete dialog screen" TiVo subscribers see at the end of recorded programs. The screen gives viewers the option of deleting the content. Clicking on the link would take the person to an interactive ad, available on TiVo's broadband-connected Series2 digital video recorder. More than 1.5 million households subscribe to the Series2 service, according to TiVo.

By placing only a link at the end of recorded programming, TiVo is trying to please both advertisers and subscribers, who can choose not to see the full ad. "It's completely opt in," a TiVo spokesman says.

Companies that have signed up for TiVo's new "Program Placement" ads include Burger King, General Motors, MasterCard Worldwide, The Weather Channel, and Court TV. The first ads are scheduled to run next week.

TiVo expects advertisers to eventually offer viewers the option of ordering products through its interactive ads, the spokesman says. Online ticket service Fandango already sells movie tickets through TiVo.

The popularity of TiVo DVRs has been credited in part to their ability to fast-forward through commercials, a practice that seriously undercuts the value of TV advertising. To counter ad skipping, TiVo has been trying to develop products that meet the needs of advertisers without alienating subscribers.

The Alviso, Calif., company is the largest maker of DVRs but has seen its market share erode as cable and telephone companies offer competing products. To reverse that trend, TiVo has embarked on a long-term strategy of blending TV and the Internet in ways that can differentiate its DVR.

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