Personal-television-service provider TiVo Inc. announced
last week that it will add an interactive preview feature called "Ipreview"
early next year.
A special icon will tag live programming promotions from
TiVo's network partners. With one touch of their remote controls, TiVo customers will
be able to automatically activate their service to record shows as soon as they're
televised and store them on the TiVo disk drive.
TiVo has been testing the service with some of its current
subscribers, vice president of programming and media partnerships Stacy Jolna said.
"It's a powerful new arrow in the network's
promotional quiver to foster viewership," Jolna said. "It's as simple as
see it, want it, get it."
NBC and Showtime Networks Inc. are the first programmers to
sign up for the service.
"We thought it was an advantage to be on the ground
floor," NBC advertising and promotion president John Miller said.
The network produces roughly 10,000 on-air promotions each
year, Miller said, adding that its goal is to encode most of them with the Ipreview
feature. Primetime movies and other one-time events merit the codes more than daily shows
would, he added.
Jolna said the "I" in Ipreview stands for
personalization, as well as interactivity. The Ipreview tag remains invisible to viewers
without the TiVo service.
Miller called the Ipreview feature "only a positive.
Even if all of our competitors have it, it's still a positive."
He added that NBC, an investor in TiVo, wants to embrace
new technology, "and not stick our heads in the sand and pretend that it doesn't