NEW YORK (Reuters) - General Electric Co unit NBC Universal has reached an agreement with TiVo Inc to become the first major broadcaster with the right to use the digital recorder company's research and interactive advertising products, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday in its online edition.
The agreement will give the TV concern's networks such as NBC, Telemundo and Bravo -- as well as its NBC owned-and-operated TV stations -- access to TiVo's ratings data, the Journal said.
The deal will be announced as early as Tuesday, the Journal added.
NBC Universal is also planning to use the deal to sell advertisers TiVo products such as interactive tags, which enable a company's name to be seen even if a viewer is zapping through an ad, the Journal said.
YOU probably won't believe this, but back in the Dark Days of Analog computers were sometimes viewed as potential instruments of evil (!), waiting to run Amok; even the poor unassuming bar code was thought of as a precursor to government-sponsored anal probing and mass extermination camps, and people laughed at Soylent Green. Well, I did, anyway, but then I was high, plus I was only there in the first place because some high school friend of my sister's had suggested that if I took her to see it at the drive-in in my (used) Audi LS she'd let me drive her (almost pristine) Volvo, if you know what I mean, and then she wouldn't.
In fairness, people took concepts like "dehumanization" and "invasion of privacy" and "Nazi death camp" a lot more seriously in those days, and almost no one had seen Star Trek and its window into our technotopian future. The idea of a personal computer wasn't even on the radar. Hell, radar hadn't actually been on the radar all that long, now that I think about it. We hadn't yet experienced the joys of efficient, hydroponically-grown tomatoes, let alone realizing how much greater genetically-engineered varieties would bounce. We fed our cattle grain, if you can imagine, and not, well, less-successful cattle.
I'm not sure when this all changed, but I do know that to the extent Bill Gates is responsible we need to re-think our position on schoolyard bullying. I imagine we can also blame Christmas, which introduced Pong and Atari into American living rooms like undetected carbon monoxide, leaving our citizenry too groggy to realize that in a few short years every meal, opera, family gathering, retail shopping trip, theatre opening, bris, or spectator sporting event would occur under a thick blanket of ringing telephones and the loud recitation of one end of the witless conversations they presage. (All of this leaves out my personal complaint about the sort mindless commercial nostalgia for this stuff which posits it as some simpler, purer time, the sort of thing which might cause a professional scribe to quote someone renting hall space to a bunch of chiptone enthusiasts to the effect that "this is their Woodstock". And don't get me wrong. I have the utmost respect for these or any other artists, and nothing worse than benign neglect for their audience; it's the sort of people who say, "This is their Woodstock," I'd like to see eliminated, or at least driven mad by one side of a telephone conversation while they wait in the checkout line.)
Where the hell was I? Oh, so as of January 1 your TIVO will be spying on you not just for its own amusement, but in the service of the General Electric Corporation (NYSE: GE), a move which is not only being applauded in certain circles but lauded as bold and innovative. Thanks to this sort of modern innovation you don't even need to read the teevee listings anymore. If you did anyway, you'd find that over on the actual NBC tonight you can watch The Bionic Woman as updated for the Late Naughts (she's still a crime-busting techno-feminist with nice hair, but now she's considering Opting Out). Or, if you'd rather catch what market research convinced NBC to do with Bravo ("The Arts Network"), tune in for six prime-time hours of Project Runway. Bodes well, huh? Compared to that a little non-consensual anal probing while someone taps out Freut euch des Lebens on a rejiggered Merlin doesn't sound so bad. Maybe NBC could save a little bold and innovative thinking for the Product.