The Tivo Effect

By Deane Barker on March 19, 2005

How big is something when it gets an “effect”? And what about when no one can decide what that “effect” is?

I’d been hearing about “The Tivo Effect” for a while, and I figured it’d make a good post, so I went looking for a definition. I found this article, this one, this one, this one, and dozens of others, all claiming something different about “The Tivo Effect.”

As near as I can tell, it could mean:

  • the tendency for advertisers to increase product placement within TV shows (since actual ads can now be skipped)
  • the echo created by two TVs in the house watching the same show while one of them is “time-shifted” because of Tivo’s ability to pause live TV.
  • the inability to go back to life before Tivo
  • the increased spare time you have now that you can reduce your TV watching into concentrated blocks of time
  • the decreased spare time you have now that you record and watch shows you might never have recorded before

So I still have no idea what The Tivo Effect is, but what’s important is that Tivo has affected television viewing to the point where it has a “named effect.” And evidently so many of these effects that no one can agree what the most important one is. Do you have a definition for “The Tivo Effect?”

Someday there will be a “Gadgetopia Effect.” When that day comes, someone please tell me what it is.



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