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Seven joins TiVo for 2008

UPDATED: Seven Media has joined with TiVo to bring the popular hardware to Australian and NZ homes in 2008.

TiVo products allow viewers to record programmes on timeshift, similar to Foxtel’s IQ, but with the added internet connectability. Although it doesn’t allow ad-skipping, it does allow an ad fast-forward facility.

Early word is that Free TV Australia has agreed to a uniform Electronic Programme Guide, which is interesting given Nine has been suing IceTV over the very same matter.

But despite its sexy appeal TiVo has been challenged in the US by other hardware which had allowed ad-skipping. Its penetration in the US is actually about 30-40% market share of a total DVR market.

The joint venture with TiVo certainly empowers Seven with a hardware group while Nine / PBL is embedded with Foxtel. So what about other players in the hardware game?

Foxtel is fighting back hard already, trumpeting its own IQ which will have been in the market for 3 years by the time TiVO arrives. Seven Media, who will be making TiVo available “at a fraction” of the price of the IQ is aimed at the 75% of homes without Foxtel.

Press Release:

Seven Media Group, one of Australia’s leading integrated media companies, and TiVo Inc. (Nasdaq: TIVO), the creator of and a leader in digital video recorders, today announced that Seven will be bringing TiVo to Australia in 2008. Under the mutually-exclusive agreement, Seven Media Group will lead the creation of the digital platform to enable TiVo’s digital video recorder and service, including the award-winning TiVo user interface. The platform will be available for use by other broadcasters and broadband content owners to create a compelling, interactive, free to air digital terrestrial television offering. The TiVo® Service will be available across Australia and will include internationally recognized TiVo features like SeasonPass™ recordings and WishList® searches and allow users to access broadband content on their TV. Through its new partnership with TiVo, Seven will deploy TiVo’s leading interactive advertising capabilities to develop new integrated interactive advertising strategies for their very substantial number of broadcast advertisers.

“Every night, the vast majority of Australians turn to free to air broadcasters for their television entertainment. The Australian television market is on the cusp of a significant migration to digital television that will greatly expand the choices available on free-to-air television ” said Tom Rogers, President and CEO of TiVo. “We are excited to play a key role in driving this transition by partnering with the top television network in the country to establish Seven’s leadership of this transformation.”

Added Rogers, “This new partnership with Seven will utilize TiVo’s content search and discovery features, TiVo’s powerful advertising capabilities and broadband video straight to the TV set. This relationship demonstrates our ability to deploy the TiVo service on the digital terrestrial, or DVB-T standard, which has now been globally adopted and will represent more than 100 million homes by 2009. It demonstrates the opportunities TiVo has to work with leading broadcasters who have substantial marketing clout to drive TiVo DVR penetration by adopting our hardware and software approaches to this globally important standard.”

Chief Executive Officer of Seven Media Group, Mr. David Leckie said, “This association unites the strengths of free to air television and TiVo to deliver new digital services to the Australian consumer. Free-to-Air television is well positioned in Australia to benefit from the TiVo service in offering viewers the chance to easily find and automatically record the programming they want,
schedule their viewing time and vastly extend their overall television viewing experience.”

“Through TiVo, Seven will leverage our broadcast television and publishing businesses, deliver new advertising and marketing solutions, and expand our presence in new communications platforms, as we work in partnership with Yahoo!7 and Engin. As a broadcaster, we are uniquely positioned to promote DVRs while simultaneously defining the future of television advertising.”

A number of major media organizations have expressed interest in participating on the platform.

Engin will play a pivotal role in distribution and support of TiVo in Australia. Seven and Engin are finalizing distribution arrangements with other partners. Further announcements of these arrangements are expected in the coming weeks.

The companies expect TiVo products and services to be launched in the first half of 2008. Financial terms were not disclosed. For more information and to keep up-to-date with developments of TiVo in Australia, go to www.mytivo.com.au

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