In a move to revitalize the troubled market for personal video recorders, leading PVR maker TiVo announced today a novel deal with retail chain Best Buy that swaps advertising space for a prominent position on Best Buys shelves.
The two companies will create a “strategic sales agreement” under which the store will be the exclusive outlet for TiVo’s next-generation PVR, the Series 2, and will in turn be given an exclusive advertising showcase over the TiVo system.
The deal calls for Best Buy to shoulder some of the marketing costs for pushing the new device to consumers.
“What started out as place where TV networks pushed their programming is now evolving into an area where a Best Buy can get their advertising and new products to the market,” says Rebecca Baer, a spokeswoman for TiVo.
Expect the new offering around May 2002.
Personal video recorders came to market roughly three years ago with great fanfare from analysts, the press and industry. They allowed users to store live television, just as they would a VCR. But resistance from programmers, uneven marketing from box makers like TiVo and high costs have limited the appliances’ appeal.
The lack of consumer interest, however, has not stopped both consumer electronics makers and network operators from rolling out similar PVR services. AOL Time Warner is committed to an ambitious network-based PVR system that will emulate TiVo capability over its cable network. And Sony, Pioneer, Thompson and other box makers are all adding new personal recording functionality to DVD players, set-tops and even directly to TVs.
The Series2 TiVo DVR will offer about 60 hours of recording capacity. It will be built into a slick new form factor, will cost about $399, for orders placed directly to TiVo’s Web site beginning today.