Nielsen Media Research is now able to track the way in which US households use TiVo, the personal video recorder that [to the horror of the ad industry] allows viewers to skip commercials.

But don’t expect a flood of data any time soon. TiVo is used in under 1% of Nielsen’s 30,000 sample households. It is also the only PVR system the research giant can currently monitor, as talks with rival services such as ReplayTV and SonicBlue are ongoing.

Moreover, Nielsen is still discussing with clients what sort of information should be reported and how data should be handled – though the frequency and nature of ad zapping will almost certainly be investigated.

Nevertheless, the research group hailed the development of TiVo-tracking technology as a breakthrough. “We’ve cracked a big nut,” declared Anne Elliot, vp–marketing communications.

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff