TiVo, a maker of digital video recorders (DVRs), announced an enhancement to its StopWatch ratings service. The enhancement, Pure Program Ratings, offers a new metric, derived using the number of TiVo subscribers viewing a program, live or timeshifted, excluding the commercials, to arrive at the total potential audience for the commercials during a given program. The new metric was compiled for the month of May.

Current industry services measure a program’s viewership rating without separating the program content from the commercials that air during it. TiVo’s Pure Program Ratings separates the ratings and makes it possible to determine the percentage of potential viewers lost during a program’s commercial breaks.

"For example, the May 7 episode of Grey’s Anatomy had a Pure Program Timeshifted audience of 17.0," said Todd Juenger, VP & GM, TiVo audience research and measurement. "That means there was potential to deliver a commercial audience of 17.0 ratings points, if every viewer watching stuck around during the commercial breaks. However, looking at the Commercial Timeshifted Rating, we see most viewers didn’t, and commercials running during the program only received a 2.7 rating. Simply put, 14.3 ratings points worth of audience or 84 percent of available viewers during timeshifted viewing were lost to fast-forwarding during commercials."

The StopWatch ratings service sample size consists of 250,000 TiVo subscribers, on its way to an expected sample size of 300,000 by September 2009. The StopWatch ratings service, introduced in February 2007, is offered via a sortable database of ratings for nationally run programs and advertisements from cable and broadcast networks, with data going back to September 2006.

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