TiVo’s own data shows that its users can’t wait to skip past ads. But unlike Dish Network’s Charlie Ergen — who has infuriated the media industry with his Hopper DVR that helps viewers to automate the process — TiVo CEO Tom Rogers keeps looking for ways to please everybody by making advertising more palatable. That brings him back to an idea that’s at least as old as the Full Service Network, Time Warner’s failed interactive TV experiment in the 1990s: TiVo says today that it is uniting with PayPal to offer viewers opportunities to instantly buy products that they see in certain interactive ads. If you own a TiVo DVR, or receive its service via a pay TV provider, you’ll be able to “instantly purchase products with just a few clicks of the remote after an easy, one-time account setup,” says TiVo GM for Content and Media Sales Tara Maitra. “PayPal’s expertise in online payments, customer service, and working directly with merchants and sellers makes the entire payment process easy and trustworthy and will create a valuable experience for TiVo users and advertisers.” PayPal will take care of the transaction and the advertiser will handle fulfillment.The DVR company says that it will sound out advertisers to develop PayPal-enabled TiVo ads in time for the fall 2012 television season. Will it work? I’m pessimistic. People who want to shop from their living rooms can easily turn to QVC or HSN, or — even better — go online. When they’re watching a TV show, then I suspect TiVo knows better than most that what they really want is to just return to the story.
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