As Replay Networks and Panasonic announced their strategic alliance, rival digital video recorder developer TiVo announced NBC as the latest investor to take an equity stake in the company, which is delivering personal video recording services this year.
Neither TiVo nor NBC would disclose terms of the investment, except to say that the stake was "significant" and that NBC executive VP Tom Rogers has been named to TiVo's board of directors.
In announcing the relationship, Rogers said that like cable TV and the Internet, personal video recording "is going to happen. It will be an integral part of the television viewer's future. We are hooking up with the company we believe has the most momentum, bringing forward the long sought-after dream of video on demand."
NBC executives said they were attracted to TiVo in part because the system does not attempt to remove commercials from the television programs. Instead, TiVo allows advertisers to swap spots to deliver ads about products and services that are suited to the viewer's personal profile.
Rogers said the personal video model provides an opportunity to attract more viewers to NBC's prime-time lineup.
All of the networks are facing competitors such as the Internet, cable and satellite providers, said Rogers. TiVo has an advantage over cable, he noted, because it is targeted at capturing first-time programming on personal viewing channels, where the bulk of cable programming comes from showing repeats of previously aired network TV shows or multiple broadcasts of the same movies each month.
Josh Bernoff, Forrester Research television market principal analyst, said TiVo appears to have a slight edge in momentum over Replay Network at this point, but he adds that the personal video concept in general will be a huge market.
"I think this is going to be the most successful consumer electronics category in history," stated Bernoff.