The digital age

There’s new technology out there — some of you already have it in your own homes — that has the potential to revolutionize television. It also could have as much power to revolutionize consumer goods advertising as the invention of the television itself.
I’m talking about TiVo, and if you haven’t looked into it, it’s only a matter of time before you do, according to an educational session I attended at last month’s Information Resources Inc. Reinventing CPG Summit in San Diego.
For those not yet on the bandwagon, TiVo is a digital recording service that allows viewers to record their favorite programming by title, actor’s name or a number of other keywords. TiVo doesn’t require viewers to know the time or the channel of the program they want to record, and even allows customers to set up recording for an entire season of a program.
But the service’s most popular features are its ability to pause live television, play things back in instant replay or slow motion… and fast-forward through commercials. And therein lies the challenge for all consumer goods companies that currently pitch their products on TV.
According to conference speakers, 20 million U.S. households are expected to have TiVo by 2006. That’s 20 million affluent, tuned-into-trends households — the average income in a TiVo home is $100,000, and 80 percent use broadband services — that theoretically could be lost by traditional commercial advertising.
Seventy percent of programs watched by TiVo users are recorded, with dramas and sitcoms topping the list. The least likely shows to be TiVo’d are sports, special events and reality shows because of the "water-cooler" effect — viewers want to be able to talk about the show with their friends and co-workers the next day.
Digital recording does have unique promotional opportunities that companies such as Coca-Cola already are taking advantage of, according to the speakers at the conference. They cited a Coca-Cola-sponsored music program called Sound Check, of which the company was the sole advertiser and was able to blend advertising and program content.
Because TiVo is able to monitor what viewers are watching, when and how they are watching it (in aggregate terms; the company says no one is watching individual households), it says it may be able to provide a more measurable return on investment and ability to generate response than traditional TV advertising.
So keep your eye on this new service, it’s not just a "techie" trend, and it might change the way you talk to your consumers. BI
Publisher’s Note
I want to make it clear on my first foray into foreign territory, that I’d much rather leave the editorializing to our resident experts, Sarah Theodore and Jamie Popp. That said, I’m pleased to introduce the newest member of the Beverage Industry staff, Bruce Klion. Yes, that Bruce Klion. The same Bruce Klion who has been involved in this unique industry we call beverage for over 18 years. As many of you may already know, Bruce spent 16 years with another publication and the last two years at Beverage Marketing Corp.’s Consulting and Information Services Groups as vice president of business development.
Bruce brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to Beverage Industry, the same knowledge and experience that will assist us in delivering even more innovative, informative, and valuable insights to the beverage marketplace.
You can reach Bruce at 847/205-5660 extension 4007 or drop him a note at