TiVo re-enters UK market with Virgin

TiVo is taking a second stab at the UK market, this time with the help of Virgin Media, after a six-year hiatus.

The digital video recording firm TiVo originally entered the UK market in 2000 via a relationship with BSkyB and using a Thomson PVR box. The service flopped after managing to only shift 35,000 units in 18 months and was squeezed out by 2003 with the help of the launch of the Sky+ PVR service.
This time round TiVo has collaborated withVirgin Media to co-develop and co-brand the triple play operators next-generation TV platform. The deal with Virgin will give it access to around 4 million customers.
TiVo is to develop the middleware and interface for Virgin’s next generation “television and broadband” set top boxes.
While Sky+ has retained the top spot in the UK market as  PVR of choice, it has limited VOD functionality.
Earlier in the year Virgin CEO Neil Berkett said “we are developing a prototype interface that combines traditional broadcast TV content with on-demand programming, web-based entertainment and interactive features in a simple and user-friendly format.”
The carrier now seems to be moving away from in-house development to using TiVo’s global experience.
“This deal underscores TiVo's commitment to expanding its global footprint through strategic alliances with leading international media companies to help them deliver the best in-home entertainment experience for consumers,” said TiVo CEO Tom Rogers.

Virgin expects to have its first TiVo co-branded products available in the first half of next year, with Virgin also serving as exclusive distributor of TiVo services and technology in the UK.
The UK deal follows TiVo’s tie-up with Google in the US which will see the two firms work on expanding Google’s analytics activities in the TV ad market.
Under the arrangement, Google TV Ads will access anonymous, second-by-second DVR viewing data from TiVo's stand-alone subscribers to boost the measurement of ad impressions for inventory sold using the Google TV Ads auction-based system.
The TiVo sample covers all television signal sources including digital cable, analog cable, satellite, telecom and over-the-air television, in live and timeshifted viewing.

Meanwhile TiVo reported a net loss of $6.7 million (€4.47m) in its Q4 results yesterday.