The spate of new media alliances continues to heat up with an announcement by America Online Inc. (AOL) that it will team up with personalised television services provider, TiVo.
AOL plans to incorporate TiVo's VCR and software into AOL TV, the interactive TV service which the company is currently developing, according to a joint statement. It also has taken a minority investment in TiVo, the amount of which it did not disclose.
TiVo makes software and offers services for what it calls a personal video receiver, a digital VCR which allows viewers to plan and record specified television programs. Users buy a special receiver installed with the TiVo software, which enables users to create a personalized TV service. For example, they can play their selections back in the order desired, choose to have advertisements edited out, or create instant replays. Users then pay a monthly fee for the personalized TV service.
The move also demonstrates AOL's efforts to move from its role as an Internet-based content provider into an more broad-ranging media company. Its recent campaign, which it calls AOL Anywhere (and includes AOL TV), is designed to give consumers access to AOL content from a variety of different outlets, including mobile phones, TVs, and handheld devices.
AOL joins Philips Electronics NV, DirecTV, Showtime and most recently, NBC in announcing agreements with TiVo.
AOL also announced an agreement yesterday with Emusic, Inc. (formerly GoodNoise). Emusic.com sells music in the digital format MP3 (Motion Picture Experts Group, Audio Layer 3) by such recording artists as Frank Black (formerly of the popular indie rock band, The Pixies) and They Might Be Giants. The company also offers some free singles for download. AOL plans to promote music from Emusic.com via AOL's ICQ instant messenger service, Spinner.com Web-radio site and Winamp MP3 player program.