A panel of experts -- ranging from TV and movie critics to fashion experts and fan-club leaders -- would watch the show together, then only minutes after viewing it, would move into a studio where Spin the Bottle would shoot a live-to-tape special show. No longer than ten minutes and only lightly edited, the new content would rest on TiVo servers and be available to customers who‚Äôve selected the TiVo‚Äôd the show. Mr. Low described his new idea to a group of marketers, agency executives and top TiVo brass at a breakfast this morning held in New York City at the Rainbow Room.
Mr. Low envisions that, initially, TiVo‚Äôs content would be made for one of the service‚Äôs most recorded shows, which include ‚ÄúThe OC,‚ÄĚ ‚ÄúLost,‚ÄĚ ‚ÄúDesperate Housewives‚ÄĚ and ‚ÄúAmerican Idol.‚ÄĚ Advertiser participation, according to Mr. Low, could range from sponsoring the show to more integrated arrangements in the panel itself.
‚ÄúIt depends on what advertiser or advertisers come on board,‚ÄĚ he said. ‚ÄúWe can customize it around the brand.‚ÄĚ He‚Äôs particularly interested in working with marketers already advertising on whichever network airs the show for which he‚Äôs creating content, so that the connection between the actual episode and the TiVo-created content is strong.
One particular advertiser at the breakfast was intrigued by the concept.
‚ÄúI think of Tad being the creative department of the future,‚ÄĚ said Coca-Cola Co. Chief Marketing Officer Chuck Fruit, ‚Äúbeing in the entertainment business, the engagement business -- particularly for products like ours where consumers don‚Äôt really care about the product specifics, like how many bubbles does it have. We grow our brands through affinity and relationships.‚ÄĚ
When asked how much of Coca-Cola‚Äôs media budget is currently earmarked for new media, Mr. Fruit said that while it was probably currently less than 5% in the U.S., ‚Äúfive years from now it‚Äôs likely to be 25%. . . . The delineation between different forms of media -- TV, print, digital media like TiVo -- will blur.‚ÄĚ
Mr. Low hopes TV producers of shows like ‚ÄúThe OC‚ÄĚ or ‚ÄúDesperate Housewives‚ÄĚ might be interested in providing TiVo with clips from just-viewed episodes that would enhance the appeal of the special content. ‚ÄúYou‚Äôve got a dedicated audience, people who like the show enough to TiVo it, why not give them more?‚ÄĚ he asks rhetorically.
Discussions between Mr. Low and TiVo have been ongoing for several years but heated up only recently as TiVo‚Äôs broadband capabilities have become more robust. "Now, we just need an advertiser to jump on board," said Davina Kent, VP-advertising sales at TiVo.
Today, TiVo also announced a partnership with Fandango that allows its subscribers who have networked their TiVo to a broadband connection to view local movie show times and, through an e-commerce component, purchase a ticket to the show without leaving the couch. TiVo is working with movie studios to offer trailers of new releases on its Showcase platform and is likely to launch the service with a primary sponsor that the company expects to announce shortly. This opens the doors, TiVo executives told marketeres and agency chiefs today, to advertisers‚Äô ability to add e-commerce components to their interactive TiVo advertising.
The services will be available to the 300,000 of TiVo‚Äôs 1.3 million stand-alone subscribers who‚Äôve connected the DVR to broadband home networks.