Sue First Ask Later

By Davis Freeberg

It looks like TiVo’s foray into the portable market could be held up by Hollywood executives who feel that the technology threatens their non-existant VOD revenues. Apparently, TiVo was supposed to ask permission from all of the studios before they released a product that causes the market to innovate. What’s so amazing about this latest chapter in the TiVo saga is that even though executives want TiVo to work with them, Hollywood has been fighting TiVo from day one. Techdirt points out that last year, when they wanted to implement TiVo to Go, they were forced to plead with the FCC to allow it.

In an interview with Variety earlier this week, a NBC Universal spokesperson said

“This unilateral action creates the risk of legal conflict instead of contributing to the constructive exploitation of digital technology that can rapidly provide new and exciting experiences for the consumer.”

This is simply more proof that Hollywood is scared to death of the TiVo effect. Since they haven’t figured out a way to “exploit” TiVo for their gain, they must instead come up with solutions like product placements and shifting the start of their programs to 9:04 pm instead of at 9 o’clock (heaven forbid that someone be allowed to watch a show on two networks in the same night ) Seems awful strange to me that they are telling Madison Avenue that the PVR is the best thing since sliced bread, while they are continuing to come up with ways to isolate their audience. In all fairness to Hollywood there were a few studios that did express some interest in supporting the product. In the Variety article Kevin Tsujihara of Warner Brothers came out and said “In addition to focusing on the legal issues, it’s also important to focus on the fact that consumers are saying this is the kind of thing they want.” While it’s encouraging to see that Warner Brothers is at least a little cool, I wonder if there attitude stays the same when consumers figure out how bad their Start Over service really is.

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