Amazon and TiVo to Partner for Impulse-Buy Ads

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TiVo and Amazon will expand their partnership with an advertising deal that will allow TiVo owners to directly purchase products advertised and promoted on TV shows from Amazon, the New York Times reports.

The feature will roll out in the coming months, according to the story. The piece isn't entirely clear on just where the purchase links will appear (and neither TiVo nor Amazon appear to have released details), but it does say TiVo owners will see links to buy products in "TiVo's various onscreen menus."

Also, the option "will be presented to viewers during commercials and even alongside product placements during live shows."

From the business side, this impulse-buy assistance could prove a boon to both TiVo and Amazon's bottom line.  The two already partner to offer the Amazon Unbox video download service through TiVos.

But from the consumer side, my eyebrow's arched with concern. I have to wonder whether TiVo owners (like me), who have grown accustomed to skipping ads, would rebel at seeing an overlaid ad link or icon that they couldn't evade during shows. It sure doesn't sound like something I'd want - if I'm truly inspired to make an impulse buy I'm content to pause the show and walk the 20 feet to my PC to make the online purchase.

TiVo's market share is already relatively small, according to Silicon Alley Insider's commentary on this plan: regular TiVo set tops and DIRECTiVo units combined make up just over 10 percent of the DVR install base, according to numbers SAI cites from Nielsen.

I don't see this move encouraging more people to buy TiVos, and if anything it might shake the legendary loyalty lavished on the company by current owners.  But that may not be a concern for the company, which as the Times story states, is "trying to branch out of the set-top box business and into building software that it can license to much larger media companies."

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