February 28, 2007

Dear Tivo, Please Track and Report My Data

I am a sucker for statistics, and I am a sucker for TiVo. While the DVR company has gone to great lengths to assure customers that none of their individual viewing habits will be distributed, TiVo often aggregates larger pools of data and reports on the results - letting us know which actors and actresses are proving most popular, which shows are best seen live, and which are more frequently seen when time-shifted. But I am sure they have the ability to show me my own TV viewing habits, and I beg them to open the vault - to let me know, my statistics.

I want to be able to know:

* Over the last 30 days or 1 year, how many shows did I record and later watch?
* How many of those shows were dramas? How many were sitcoms? How many were live events?
* How many hours have I spent watching Law & Order in the last year?
* How many hours did I watch A's baseball?

I want to know:

* How many total hours did I watch TV?
* Do I watch more TV on the weekends or weekdays? Which days?
* What were my top ten shows viewed by number of minutes or episodes?

If TiVo can track total viewer data, and I know that it can give me suggestions based on other shows I watch, record and offer "Thumbs Up" or "Thumbs Down", then I know that TiVo can enhance its service by showing me my own viewer statistics.

I've moved way beyond the issue of privacy. Google tracks every search I make in my search history. Google tracks how many RSS feeds I read per day, on which day, at which time, and from which sources. Last.FM tracks how often and when I listen to a particular song out of iTunes, and which artists are my favorite. If the data is there to be tracked, then I want it tracked.

I want to know if I kept the percentage of "Reality Shows" or "Soap Operas" below 1/2 of one percent all year long. I want to know what percentage shows I see within one day, three days or five days of their being recorded. I want the data.

TiVo, I know you are storing the information. Please open up the vault and let us have a peek inside.

Lifetime Subscription Holder Louis Gray

Update: A must-have for the "My TiVo Statistics" would be the option to mark viewing as being tracked or not tracked, much like Apple has "Private Browsing" for Safari, or Google search tracking can be Paused. If I don't want the wife to know I'm watching South Park, and she wants to hide her watching The View, that works.

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