TiVo signs Showtime

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TiVo, the San Jose, Calif.-based marketer of the TiVo Personal Television Service, signed Showtime Networks, New York, as the first network to implement its Ipreview program for on-air promos. The deal means Showtime customers who are also TiVo subscribers will be able to conveniently select movies and events for programming to the TiVo service. Starting in June, Showtime subscribers who have TiVo will be able to click on a small icon in the corner of their TV screens during promos for upcoming shows, commanding that the program be recorded using Ipreview.

For more on the story, click here. "Showtime is going fully 24/7 head to toe,'' said Stacy Jolna, TiVo chief programming officer and VP-advertising and media partnerships. "That makes Showtime the very first fully interactive TV network in which every promo for upcoming movies and specials is interactive with TiVo.''

The goal is to turn TV watching from a passive experience to an interactive one. Showtime promos will be data-tagged in post-production with the Ipreview tag. If viewers are interested in a movie or event, they can hit a button on the TiVo remote control that will trigger an automatic recording when that program airs.

"This is a direct response vehicle for us,'' said Gene Falk, senior VP, Showtime Digital Media Group. TiVo expects to sign several more programmers to Ipreview in coming months. NBC already is participating on selected programming.

"This gives our programming partners yet another arrow in their quiver to more powerfully communicate with members of their audience,'' Mr. Jolna said. "All the viewer has to do now is see it, want it, get it.''

Mr. Jolna said Ipreview lays the technical foundation for interactive advertising. "Today, it's on-air promotions for the networks; tomorrow, it's traditional 30-second spots turned into interactive experiences.'' TiVo, which had 35,000 subscribers as of March 31, is busy creating awareness among ad agencies and marketers for a new interactive advertising program. Mr. Jolna said TiVo aims to have a dozen marketers across categories such as automobiles, food, technology and fashion under its umbrella.

Copyright May 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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