Tivo partners with Entertainment Weekly

Watch Family Guy on Tivo, buy the DVD instantly with Tivo
Watch Family Guy on Tivo, buy the DVD instantly with Tivo

Everything looks rosy for time-shifting TV techsters Tivo, who've turned multi-million dollar losses last year into a tidy $10 million of earnings last quarter.

The American DVR maker also announced a partnership today with leading listings rag Entertainment Weekly to allow its viewers to skip Oprah repeats, reality shows and infomercials by automatically recording the magazine's recommended shows each day.

Tom Rogers, President and CEO of TiVo, said, "This partnership underscores TiVo's goal of providing easy solutions that bring together television viewing with an individual's lifestyle." A bit like the internet, then, but with a comfier seat in front.

The return of adverts

For a format that has built its success on viewers being able to skip American TV's tediously intrusive ads, Rogers was keen to emphasize the role of advertising in Tivo's future: "We are working with television advertisers, advertising agencies, television networks, and cable operators to solve the issues that come with commercial avoidance. When compared to last year's second quarter, approximately 50 percent more advertisers utilized TiVo this year."

One such move, a link with Amazon that allows viewers to pause their viewing and purchase items with 'red button'-style functionality, suggests to Rogers that, "the application of this approach to the increased use of product placements as an advertising tool is also a very promising one."

That might be good for Tivo's profits now, but you have to wonder how many viewers will continue to pay their subscriptions when they realise they've simply swapped obvious adverts for more subtle ones.

Mark Harris is Senior Research Director at Gartner.