Tivo wants consumers to get more from TV. What more, you ask?
The company's personalized TV service, delivered via a set-top box, allows viewers to digitally record and store hours of their favorite shows for viewing when convenient. It also allows marketers to send interactive, one-to-one ads and promotions.
That could be a godsend to marketers and Madison Avenue, if consumers buy up the $499 to $999 set-top boxes this quarter.
Getting marketers on board is the first step. Stacy Jolna, TiVo's VP-programming and media partnerships, helped broker relationships with a bevy of well-heeled partners ranging from DirecTV and NBC to HBO and Philips Electronics. All these relationships may help speed the adoption of new interactive ad technologies, marketing paradigms and, perhaps most importantly, couch commerce.
`A GREAT MARRIAGE'
They also helped lead the company to a successful IPO last month. "We wanted to begin embracing the entertainment community, bring [them] in as partners and investors," Mr. Jolna says, adding, "My contribution to the company was to bring seasoned media sensibilities to media-sensitive technologists; it's a great marriage."
So how did a former chief of special programming at Turner Broadcasting Systems' CNN end up hitting ground zero for the intersection of technology, marketing and media?
His journey through the minefield of Silicon Valley new-media ventures began in 1996, after a 15-year tenure with Turner, in which he helped lead his team at "CNN Presents" to three Emmys, a few Cable Aces and a Peabody for a CNN special reports package.
He consulted for the portal Excite and helped the company launch Excite Live, a personalized online magazine. He then learned about e-commerce on demand at Marimba and BackWeb, and spent a year at Microsoft Corp.'s WebTV Networks before landing at TiVo.
"TiVo, early on, looked at the great success stories of the Internet--personalization, smart-agent technology, e-commerce, push and portal concepts, and set out to transport those great success stories to the universe of television," Mr. Jolna says.
P&G, GM ON BOARD
TiVo is already at work on interactive promotions, and last month launched Ipreview, which allows subscribers to automatically record programs right from the promotions for those shows.
The TiVo service then automatically records the particular programs viewers choose. "This creates the architecture for interactive advertising," Mr. Jolna says, adding, "For the very first time in a TV advertising experience, TiVo's technology will be able to put the consumer in the driver's seat."
Next year, TiVo hopes to begin the first interactive advertising on the service with charter advertisers including Procter & Gamble Co. and General Motors Corp., both of which have been working closely with the company. It also will begin deploying targeted consumer offers and audience measurement tools.
Copyright November 1999, Crain Communications Inc.