TiVo Teams with Brightcove to Offer Web Video on TV

On the heels of unveiling plans to run more branded programming on its service, TiVo has signed a non-exclusive deal with Brightcove to distribute Web video to TiVo Series2 DVR subscribers. No specific content partners have been announced. Though initial ad offerings have not been formulated, Brightcove expects advertising in the TiVo-distributed content to take the form of sponsorships.

“Over time, TVs are going to be networked to the Internet,” predicted Adam Berrey, VP of marketing and strategy at Brightcove, which distributes Internet video on behalf of content providers and enables ads in that content. “We saw an opportunity to work with TiVo because they already have in place the boxes in the living rooms that are connected to TV sets.”

TiVo VP General Manager of Content Services Tera Maitra suggested, “For a TiVo user, it shouldn’t matter what the source of content is.” The deal with Brightcove, she continued, “helps TiVo differentiate as a platform.” In essence, the arrangement helps Brightcove position itself beyond the Web browser, and TiVo position itself beyond linear broadcast TV content.

At first, Brightcove will work with a select group of publisher partners that “makes sense for this type of distribution,” according to Berrey. Brightcove currently has deals to distribute Internet video content from publishers including About.com, Discovery, National Lampoon, Oxygen and AOL. “Since it’s such a new space, we’ll try a little bit of everything,” he said, hinting, “obviously this applies for a longer form of content than what you’d normally see in a browser.” Currently, Brightcove publisher partners use the service to distribute video on their sites or affiliate sites. Publishers can choose to run ads from Brightcove’s ad network, or offer content via pay-per-view or subscription.

Although advertising arrangements may change as time goes on, the content publishers will determine ad offerings and handle ad sales in the beginning. “This will lend itself to more of a sponsorship model because we initially won’t have the same viewing metrics that you’ll get with browser based delivery,” added Berrey. He sees ITV advertising increasingly becoming more marketing-driven, prompting users to seek out more information about an advertiser on their own volition.

Internet TV content distributed by TiVo in the future may be available through subscription or a pay-per-view model. “Some content makes more sense to be subscription based; some content makes more sense to be ad supported,” noted Maitra.

The deal does not rule out TiVo working with other Web video providers. Indeed, the company has conducted trials with content publishers in the past, including CNET, which distributed 6 weekly 15-minute tech reviews through the DVR system. Maitra said similar distribution deals will come, including one with CNET.

“The entry point to sign up will vary based on different content providers,” said Maitra, adding that TiVo users would see content from Brightcove in the “Now Playing” sections of their TV system interface. Internet video will also be offered through TiVo Central, TiVo’s Web-based management system.

Berrey called the market for viewing Web video on TV “fairly nascent;” however, he continued, “what you’re seeing happening is overall this shift to content on demand, and increasingly consumers are coming to expect they can watch what they want to watch when they want to watch it.”

TiVo on Monday announced plans to offer advertisers the ability to run branded advertorial content on the system. In discussions of the Web video deal with ClickZ News, Brightcove and TiVo both implied similar advertorial programming could be distributed through the partnership.

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