TiVo is rolling out a feature to its Chicago area viewers where they will be automatically able to record Chicago Tribune TV critic Maureen Ryan's picks. As a result of doing this blog I have become a regular reader of Ms. Ryan's column The Watcher and I really enjoy her work. The New York Times piece linked above by our friend Brian Stelter quotes the managing editor for features at The Tribune, James Warren, saying that the TiVo partnership seemed like a no-lose proposition.
"Maybe we'll get a few people to do the unthinkable and subscribe to the newspaper," said Warren.
I agree it's a no-lose proposition. While The Tribune would have gotten more exposure cutting a deal with the local cable company, this is one area where TiVo actually has an advantage. It can fairly easily add something like this where others can't.
I'd put the chances of the Comcast DVR rolling out something similar with San Francisco Chronicle TV critic Tim Goodman (who I also regularly read) at almost zero any time in the next two years. So The Chronicle, like the Tribune is probably better off going the TiVo route. Chicago area TiVo users will also get access to videos from Ms. Ryan discussing her picks.
But the marketing prowess of TiVo, the incredibly shrinking DVR company that on a net basis has lost, not gained subscribers four quarters running is quite impressive. It has all the buzz even if 4 out of 5 DVR homes are not actually subscribed to TiVo. And you TiVo lovers, I don't want to hear it from you any more than I want to hear it from the Gossip Girl zealots.
I know you love your TiVo, I know you think it's the best DVR ever and worth whatever you're paying for it. I know you think that anyone who uses a DVR that isn't a TiVo is missing out. I know that you and all your friends and everyone you know also uses TiVo and would consider using nothing else. But nonetheless, 4 out of 5 DVR homes aren't like yours. Sorry.
I love TiVo too, promise. And if it weren't more than mildly creepy for me to say "I love Gossip Girl," I'd probably say it. But I have to give props to TiVo and the Gossip Girl branch of CW marketing. They put spells on the mainstream media where it works out that even though they in no way could be considered "market leaders", the mainstream media laps ‘em up like melted Ben & Jerry's chocolate chip cookie dough.