TiVo Signs Miller Brewing to Ad Deal

Digital TV recording service TiVo unveiled a deal with Miller Brewing Company on Tuesday, having signed the domestic beer giant to a one-year advertising agreement to market to the service’s subscribers.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

Alviso, Calif.-based TiVo provides the services and technology behind networked, set-top digital recorders offered by Sony and Panasonic, among others, which can also carry downloaded, interactive content. The service counted about 73,000 subscribers as of late September.

Under Tuesday’s agreement, TiVo will carry 30 minutes’ worth of pre-loaded ads from Miller, a subsidiary of the Philip Morris Companies. The ads will run on TiVo Takes, an area of the system that features customized programming for TiVo users, such as Hollywood previews.

In addition to the ads, Miller will receive sponsorships of various portions of TiVo’s service, such as on its online magazine, TiVolution. As a charter advertiser, Miller also gains a seat on the TiVo’s advertising advisory board, access to new advertising concepts developed by the firm, and research data from the firm’s subscribers.

“This is a far-reaching opportunity for us to create a new advertising model with the undeniable leader in personal television,” said Miller’s Steve Buerger, who is group director for media and event marketing at the Milwaukee, Wis.-based brewery. “TiVo gives viewers control over their programming choices and strengthens the impact of their voice with advertisers. By partnering with TiVo, we can respond to the viewers’ voice with highly targeted and entertaining ads.”

Miller Brewing Company came to TiVo by way of Starcom Media Services — the planning/buying unit of ad group Bcom3 — with which TiVo has a partnership. In addition to Starcom, TiVo has similar agreements with the Omnicom ad group and [email protected], the digital arm of WPP Group’s J. Walter Thompson.

“TiVo is committed to working closely with innovative advertisers as we employ our smart technology to develop a powerful new dialogue between advertisers and interested consumers,” said Stacy Jolna, chief programming officer and vice president of TiVo’s Entertainment Group. “Miller Brewing is dedicated to the marriage of best-of-breed creative marketing and better television that will benefit our mutual viewers.”

TiVo has been rapidly expanding its advertising relationships since effectively becoming the market leader in late November, when its chief competitor, ReplayTV, said it would be abandoning its B2C and marketing businesses to go into hardware licensing.

Since then, TiVo has inked ad deals with NBC Television, the PGA of America, and Starz/Encore. Earlier this month, the company launched an entertainment group to work with media buyers, ad agencies, and entertainment industry partners to develop TiVo content and custom advertising.

Despite being the only kid on the block in the digital recording space, deals like those can’t come quick enough for TiVo, which is working urgently to legitimize its fledgling platform and subscriber base as a serious ad vehicle. According to its last quarterly report, the company posted a net loss of $63 million on revenue of $1 million — and has enough cash to stay in business about half a year longer without additional capital.

The firm also posts earnings Tuesday evening; and potential advertisers likely will be watching to see how TiVo has been able to grow its subscriber base amid slipping consumer confidence in the economy.

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