Bit Rate

TiVo Misplays Its 'Idol' Hand

4/10/2008 9:52 AM

As Simon Cowell might say, "TiVo got it absolutely, 100 percent wrong."

The DVR company this morning issued a press release predicting that American Idol contestant Syesha Mercado would get kicked off the show tonight. 

TiVo based that prognositcation on an analysis of how many times 20,000 of its DVR users watched Tuesday’s time-shifted performances. For the previous four weeks, the singer with the least-viewed performance was voted off.

But instead, Aussie charmer Michael Johns got the hook. "I’m definitely surprised," said a visibly stunned Johns. [My wife is stunned and outraged as well: "It’s just wrong!" she fumed.]

What does this prove? Perhaps only that PR stunts can misfire. But it also shows the limitations of correlating TV viewing data with… well, anything other than watching TV.

September