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TiVo, Replay Ink Deals With Investors

Replay Networks and TiVo, makers of digital Personal Video Recorders (PVR), both announced major agreements with traditional and new media companies that promise to enhance the two companies’ products and services.

Replay announced that several leading media companies and others will invest $57 million in the company.

Investors include Time Warner, Disney, NBC, Liberty Media, ShowTime, United TV, CTV (Canada) and Matsushita. Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, a Menlo Park, Calif., venture capital firm, joins Vulcan Ventures and Tribune in increasing its stakes in Replay. Two private investors — Netscape founder Marc Andreessen and Sky Dayton, a Replay Networks board member — also increased their personal stakes in the company.

A specific breakdown of investment totals was not available.

The deal includes strategic business agreements between Replay and some of the companies to develop a feature called Replay Zones, where viewers can find and capture wide-ranging network, cable and premium programming for later playback.

“This investment by leading media companies and Matsushita provides us with the resources to take the company to the next level,” said Anthony Wood, CEO of Replay Networks. “We have now reached critical mass.”

TiVo and America Online (which owns Netscape Communications), on Tuesday announced an unspecified equity investment in TiVo by AOL and an alliance to expand and combine both companies’ services as part of AOL TV. The two will collaborate on a service that will combine TiVo’s PVRs and personalized viewing service with AOL TV’s enhanced interactive TV capabilities. Future versions of TiVo’s recorder will let consumers access the services.

TiVo president Mike Ramsay said, “By partnering with the world’s leading interactive service, we will be able to provide our customers with enriched interactive television viewing that provides a new kind of connected television experience.”

“AOL has always focused on making the online experience a key part of our members’ lives,” said AOL president Bob Pittman. “As consumers want to extend that interactive experience to devices beyond the PC, we see TiVo as a great way to help us deliver our hallmark, ease of use and convenience, to the television.”

AOL TV is part of the AOL Anywhere initiative, which is America Online’s effort to bring its current service to the television platform and also develop new services. Earlier this summer, AOL announced agreements with DirecTv and Philips.