Motorola, Cox Kick Off DVR Push

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After years of using its National Football League sponsorship to peddle wireless phones, Motorola Inc. plans to expand its gridiron marketing strategy to tout a new line of dual-tuner digital video recorders.

The set-top vendor kicked off an NFL promotion hyping its DVRs last week, supplying 30-second spots to Cox Communications Inc., the first MSO to deploy Motorola’s DCT6412 high-definition DVR.

Football has long been used as a tool to market DVRs. One of the first ads from TiVo Inc. showed a man pausing a football game just as a kicker was about to attempt a field goal so he could run to church and pray before returning home to watch the successful boot.

Produced by ad agency Ogilvy & Mather, the Motorola ads tout the dual-tuner DVR’s ability to allow a viewer to watch one program while recording another.

The spot begins with workers in an office talking about the previous night’s football game. One worker, who had opted to watch gymnastics with his girlfriend instead of the game, is shown trying to avoid the results covering his ears and avoiding newspapers so he can watch the game that night on his DVR.

“With a Motorola digital video recorder from Cox, you’ll never miss a play,” an announcer tells viewers at the end of the commercial.

Motorola consumer entertainment solutions vice president of marketing Mark De Pietro said Motorola’s NFL sponsorship gave the company a good opportunity to use football to educate consumers on the benefits of DVRs. “You put football into the equation, and it’s a natural for tying those two things together.”

The ads are also unique in that they contain shots of the Motorola DVR sitting on top of a TV. Most DVR commercials from other MSOs, such as Comcast Corp. and Time Warner Cable, have focused on DVR service and the ability to control programming, but haven’t contained images of the actual hardware.

Several Cox systems will run cross-channel spots for the new DVR, including Tulsa, Okla.; New Orleans and Baton Rouge, La.; Hampton Roads, Va.; Kansas; and New England, a spokesman said.

Comcast Corp. and Mediacom Communications Corp. have also placed orders for the DCT6412 set-tops, which cost operators about $500 apiece, depending on volume. While Cox is the only cable company that has set aside cross-channel inventory to promote the DVRs, De Pietro said he expects other operators would run similar campaigns.

“Our intention is to make this generally available, and it’s designed to be personalized,” he said.

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