Tivo PowerWatch Program Sells Detailed User Info to AdvertisersS

Tivo's been selling data about people's viewing habits—what shows and commercials they watch (or skip), when they pause, fast-forward, rewind and so on—to advertisers for around a year. Now they're adding personal info to the Chex Mix of ratings data they sell: age, income, marital status and ethnicity.

The sample size will be 20,000 homes, which for now is comprised of volunteers enticed into letting loose their persona details by a raffle offering the chance to win a free Tivo. The group is six times larger than Nielsen's sample of 3,000. It's also one-upping Nielsen in that it "will offer marketers the opportunity to survey some of its users via an online poll to ask deeper questions about their viewing habits and their feelings about both the ads and the marketers."

Though the info brigade is all-volunteer for now, Tivo's considering allowing advertisers to compare their customer database's with Tivo's, "which would help the advertisers see in greater detail how people's viewing habits affect their purchases." It's increasingly looking like your lifetime subscription might guarantee you Tivo for life, but it's sure not going to guarantee your privacy for that long. [WSJ (sub req'd)]