TiVo, maker of set-top digital video recorders, has joined with Omnicom to investigate the future of TV advertising. A statement is expected today.

TiVo's technology allows TV viewers to record without tape and - alarmingly for advertisers - to fast-forward through commercial breaks as they are broadcast. Omnicom also has a stake in a similar technology, ReplayTV.

The new alliance, titled the TiVo Strategic Advertising Agency Partnership Program, will allow Omnicom to experiment with new forms of advertising that utilise the technology. Omnicom clients may then be entitled to discounts if they advertise with TiVo. Other agencies, including J Walter Thompson, are also expected to work with the company.

“The point of this is for agencies to work with us to experiment with and get a better understanding of the new advertising and marketing techniques we'll develop”, commented TiVo’s Stacy Jolna.

Possible alternatives in advertising include a return to old-fashioned programme sponsorship, banners, cross-promotoions and targeting individual households based on viewing habits recorded by the new TV systems.

“There's always a certain degree of trepidation when change is in the wind”, added Jolna, “But there's also a certain degree of excitement about the opportunity to learn and innovate”.

News source: New York Times