Advertisers begin to embrace DVRs

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PALO ALTO, Calif. – 2007 could be the year that advertisers start making inroads into the realm of digital video recorders, which allow users to pause, rewind and record live broadcasts, advertising experts say.

Since its introduction in 1997, San Jose’s TiVo and other digital video recorders have been a thorn in the side of advertisers and companies.

Both spend money producing ads that are routinely bypassed by their targets, who own and use digital video recorders.

Now, instead of fighting or complaining about digital video recorders, those same advertisers are making more interesting commercials that beg to be watched twice or are making longer commercials that are tacked onto the end of recorded programs.

TiVo introduced the longer ad format, called program placement, last month and it could transform how viewers interact with their favorite shows, said Beryl Israel, vice president at 3 Marketeers, a San Jose-based ad firm.

“The guaranteed placement, along with the longer format, I believe will open up the door for some very creative “scripting’ for advertisers,” Israel said.

The Weather Channel is using the format to preview a new program called “Abrams and Bettes,” making the ad more like a movie trailer. Although still an advertisement, it is viewed in a more favorable light than a standard TV ad.

Meanwhile, Burger King bought time to hype video games that promote their King character and the Xbox at the same time.

For those keeping score at home, that’s a new form of advertising being used to promote another new form of advertising.

That’s exactly the sort of out-of-the-box thinking advocated by Ed Sims, a blogger who recently posted two pieces on the future of television advertising.

“I don’t believe that television advertising will go away, but that it must be reinvented quickly and that advertisers must embrace, rather than fear, new technology,” the venture capitalist wrote. He also serves on the board of answers.com and other high-tech companies.

“What is needed for the industry is a way to make television commercials more relevant, targeted, and dynamic,” he continued. “In other words, some of the best practices and technology from Internet advertising should be brought to television advertising.”

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