TiVo has entered into a strategic partnership with NBC Universal to provide interactive advertising and share audience research. The digital video recorder company also plans to incorporate its interface in software provided by Nero for use on personal computers.

As part of the agreement with NBC Universal, their 14 television networks and 10 owned-and-operated television stations will be able to sell TiVo interactive tags in combination with other NBC products and will subscribe to TiVo’s StopWatch second-by-second commercial ratings service.

The tags allow viewers to click on an icon when watching a commercial to obtain more information about that advertiser and then return to continue viewing from the same point.

NBC will also be able to offer its advertisers detailed reports on the results of campaigns that include TiVo Interactive Tags. Under the partnership, TiVo and NBC Universal will also work together to develop additional advertising products and will share revenue where appropriate.

TiVo record tags in on-air promotions will also enable one-click recordings of NBC programming on any of its broadcast or cable networks.

“This is a watershed moment for advertisers, broadcast and cable television and TiVo,” said Tom Rogers, the president and chief executive of TiVo. He described it a major step forward in ensuring that advertisers are “able to adapt to the new world of DVR based viewing”.

“With proliferating media options and changing consumer behaviour, our clients are asking for new ideas, better metrics, and more accountability,” said Mike Pilot, the president of NBC Universal Sales and Marketing. “This partnership allows us to provide clients with products and solutions to help them analyze, understand and adapt to the new ways consumers are watching television.”

NBC is the first network to use the StopWatch commercial ratings service. This allows the measurement of live and time-shifted viewing on a second-by-second basis.

TiVo will also work with media buying group Carat to help their clients understand the impact of digital video recorders on viewing behaviour. Carat will have access to data from a panel of 20,000 TiVo households.

“TiVo data adds a critical element to understanding what is really going on in DVR homes,” said Sarah Fay, the chief executive of Carat.

The TiVo interface will also be brought to personal computers through a deal with software company Nero.

“This agreement provides TiVo with an opportunity to deliver its interface and differentiated feature set globally via the PC, enabling TiVo to use all avenues of mass distribution — from consumer electronics, to cable and satellite boxes and soon, the PC,” said Tom Rogers of TiVo.

TiVo has also reported that the United States Patent Office has found that all the claims of its so-called Time Warp Patent are valid. Shares in TiVo rose 25% on the news. TiVo is claiming patent infringement by EchoStar, which is appealing against a court order to pay $89 million in licensing. Echostar argues that it does not infringe the TiVo patents.