TiVo Pitches Pause Promos

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TiVo, pioneer of the ad-skipping DVR, is looking to make money by selling sponsorships that appear when users hit the pause button.

The company said it has signed two initial sponsors for the “Pause Menu” ads: Mercedes-Benz USA, which will promote its GLK sports-utility vehicle in early 2009 by targeting football viewers, and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, which plans to promote the DVD release of Dr Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who on Dec. 9.

“With the number of DVR homes on the rise, TV advertisers are facing a very serious commercial avoidance issue that must be addressed now,” TiVo vice president of marketing and product management David Sandford said, in a statement. “The launch of Pause Menu moves us another step closer to achieving our goal of providing a comprehensive suite of interactive advertising solutions designed to help the TV industry reach viewers in a DVR world.”

Promotions on the Pause Menu will be displayed as a single line of text. Another line will link the viewer directly to TiVo’s Universal Swivel Search, allowing users with broadband-connected DVRs to find related shows and other information. The new feature is available to TiVo Series2 subscribers.

According to TiVo, its research has found that linking the Pause Menu to the Swivel Search feature gets “very positive viewer reaction.”

Pause Menu ads can be displayed on the pause screen of a live or time-shifted program, and TiVo will offer options to target genres or keywords within a program description.