Tivo Broadens CBS Offerings, Adds Web-to-TV Services

Further melding the worlds of online and offline media, Tivo has formed deals with CBS Interactive, Reuters, Forbes and others to distribute broadband content via its DVRs. The TiVoCast service will add CBS Interactive’s made-for-Web shows from its innertube site, CBS.com, and CBSNews.com to current offerings from The New York Times, Heavy, iVillage, CNET and others. The firm will also offer its subscribers the ability to transfer other online video to TV, view and share home videos through the system, and will provide show recommendations from celebrities.

“With the accelerating rate of change being what it is,” said CBS Spokesperson Dana McClintock, Tivo is one of many CBS distribution partner companies. Though he wouldn’t go into detail, he added the network has more media integration plans. “We have some other ideas along those lines,” he said.
In the initial stage, said McClintock, there won’t be advertising sold directly around the CBS content; however, “as our relationship with Tivo grows it will be headed in that direction,” he said. CBS aligned with Tivo in September to provide CBS SportsLine Fantasy Football scores, stats and highlights through the DVR system.

The broadcaster began distributing sitcoms “Two and a Half Men” and “How I Met Your Mother” through Yahoo about a year ago. Today Yahoo visitors can view exclusive video and interviews from the network’s news magazine show “60 Minutes.” CBS even made video clips promoting its shows accessible through Bluetooth-enabled cell phones, smart phones and PDAs in August.

Tivo has also added shows from diabetes-oriented program producer dLife, upscale community TV network Plum TV and multi-platform short film network Nano, as well as travel and lifestyle programs from Forbes, and Reuters shows like “Reuters Technology Week.”

Users of the new TiVo Desktop Plus 2.4 software will be able to browse, transfer and watch online content like video podcasts, music videos and user-generated content, even if that content was not originally available in a format that’s displayable on TV. The software, which has a one-time cost of $24.95, will support video content downloaded to PCs running Windows XP in QuickTime, Windows Media Video, and MPEG-4. Subscribers to Tivo’s 2.3 version can upgrade at no charge to the new software.

Another just-announced partnership with One True Media will allow broadband-connected TiVo Series2 and 3 subscribers to upload their own videos to the One True Media site, edit them online, and distribute them via Tivo using a unique channel code others can access. One True Media charges a $3.99 per month to use its service.

Enhancing its current recommendation service, the DVR company will also add program recommendations from actors and directors through a new relationship with talent and literary agency International Creative Management.

In May, Tivo announced a non-exclusive deal with video distribution network Brightcove to serve up Web video to TiVo Series2 DVR subscribers.

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