TiVo as Big Brother?

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Adding to the disturbing trend about TiVo monitoring subscriber’s viewing habits (ála Big Brother) comes this bit of news:

TiVo and Nielsen Media Research, the television ratings company, announced a deal Wednesday in which TiVo will provide a breakdown of how some of its customers are using their digital video recorders.

That means Nielsen will find out whether participating viewers are watching “American Idol” live or watching it a day later and, more importantly, which commercials they’re skipping and which were watched a second time.

I have to say that I am a huge fan of TiVo; it has completely changed the way that I watch TV. But this whole monitoring of data is rather disturbing, to say the least.

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  • It’s more disturbing to me that they’re likely making money off of that data – and we’re still paying for the service. Make it free and they can take all the data they want. If I’m paying, I don’t think it’s fair they should be selling that data to marketing researchers. In fact, there’s a great way for them to give customers control – offer the service free if you don’t mind being monitored (I wouldn’t care) or allow them to pay and not be monitored.

  • Good point about the money, Tom.

    I don’t care what information anyone’s collecting about my TV habits, as long as it remains anonymous. If you’re just Viewer # 946KL77R, what’s the big deal?

    Of course, I’m assuming that they’ll be nice and honest and trustworthy. Pardon me while I collapse a lung with my wild laughter.

  • Hmm, I do not like this at all. Might be time for me to utilyze a media center PC for PVR purposes and save the 10+ bones a month … grrr.