Netflix has begun incorporating third-party advertising onto their envelopes. Beginning last week, DVDs to certain customers in certain geographic regions were targeted with a Memoirs of a Geisha ad and this week Aeon Flux arrived at my door step. Also this week, I participated in an online customer survey specific to that envelop flap.

I don’t know why I didn’t think of this. I don’t know why Netflix hasn’t incorporated full-flap advertising sooner. As stated below, perhaps they needed to reach a “critical mass” of customers before they could enlist big-league sponsors. Not all advertising is bad. In many cases it can offset fees… perhaps this new revenue stream accounts for Netflix lowering subscription rates.

Unlike other mailings I receive, the ad is nicely incorporated into the actual envelope instead of troubling me with additional inserts to trash. Presenting advertising without alienating customers is a bit like walking a tightrope. The current method strikes me as a win-win endeavor. However, the moment ads start appearing in my email or interfere with browsing the Netflix website I’ll feel differently.

Brandweek says: “Netflix ships one million DVDs a day,” said Netflix spokesperson Ken Ross. “Testing ad vehicles makes sense now that our subscriber base has reached real critical mass with 3.6 million customers currently and more than five million projected for next year.” Netflix said it plans to roll out more advertising and will consider selling various ad placements—on envelopes, on its Web site, in customer e-mails. The company expects to rotate creative on a weekly basis and in some cases feature multiple movie properties at the same time in a targeted manner.

More TiVoToGo iPod, PSP Details

Dave Zatz —  November 23, 2005 — 2 Comments

Like most folks, I’m excited by TiVo’s recent announcement of upcoming support for both the iPod and PSP. So I had to find out more… I hit up Bob Poniatowski of TiVo Product Marketing, who shared a few more details of the project with me.

The new syncing, conversion, and watermarking features will be built into a future release of the TiVo Desktop. TiVo Desktop downloads will continue to be free, as will current functionality. However, the iPod and PSP enhancements are dormant options that can be activated through purchase. Many folks have wondered about the “low cost” and “small fee” that keeps showing up in print… Instead of using the free ffmpeg to perform conversions, as Videora and others do, the fee will partialy cover licensing of the commercial codec TiVo is using to perform the heavy lifting. They have no plans of bundling the TiVo-branded media player, first seen during TiVo Desktop 2.1 beta testing, into this release.

As previously reported, beta testing of the new software is expected to begin shortly with a target release of February.

Dave’s Holiday Cheer: Freebies!

Dave Zatz —  November 23, 2005

One kind reader blessed me with a TiVo Rewards referral. I’ve taken that reward and cashed it in for 15 TiVo ornaments that I’d like to share with my readers. After all, it is the holiday season.

Comment on any post old or new 11/23 through 12/7 and you’ll be entered to win a few of these guys in a random drawing – at least three lucky people will be selected. While thoughtful comments are appreciated, there are no restrictions other than please keep the spam and profanity to a minimum. Though, you should let me know somewhere within the comment that you want to participate – I don’t want to contact someone without their permission, dig? The comment box lets you enter your email address which is kept private and will not be shared, so double-check it for typos before you submit.

If the winners choose to pose their little TiVo friends frolicking on a Christmas tree, Chanukah bush, or fruit cake I’ll gladly post any photos and links.

The recap…

  1. Comment on any post
  2. Indicate you want to be entered to win
  3. Leave email address so I can contact you

US addresses only.
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LG MS DVRLG’s previously announced and demo-ed Microsoft-powered DVR is now available at your local big box retailer. We can all agree ReplayTV is no longer a threat to TiVo’s stand-alone business, but a major play by Microsoft is interesting. In theory, competition is good for innovation and keeping prices reasonably low.

The DVR has some nice features including a beefy 160GB hard drive, USB ports for external drives, a 90 minute buffer, DVD burning, and the ability to playback PC-based audio and pictures. Additionally, MCE owners have the ability send video, audio, and pictures in either direction. To get folks on board Microsoft is offering $100 off of the one-time subscription option.

LG says: The world’s first dedicated “digital media recorder” with the Microsoft Program Guide service is now available at leading consumer electronics retailers nationwide, LG Electronics announced today. The LG LRM-519 Digital Media Recorder is a combination digital video recorder (DVR) and DVD recorder powered by Windows Media Center Technologies with a 160-gigabyte hard drive for unparalleled recording flexibility. Creating a new industry product category and taking home theater digital convergence to the next level, the LG LRM-519 has a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $599.95. The Microsoft Program Guide service is available through three subscription options: a one-month subscription for $9.99, a one-year subscription for $99.99 or a one-time subscription for $249.

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Wow, this sure came out of left field. TiVo has applied for a patent allowing customization of remotes and PVRs based on personalized preferences provided via RFID. They describe a variety of scenarios and hardware such as providing customized hotel television viewing and adopting the technology within mobile multimedia devices. No telling when or if this will ever make it to market.

US Patent Application says: A multimedia mobile personalization system provides a remote control that detects a user’s electronic tag, e.g. an RFID tag. The remote control notifies a multimedia device of the user’s identity. The multimedia devices tailors it operations to the user’s preferences stored locally. Multimedia content such as broadcast or recorded television programs, music play lists, and the like could be sorted, displayed, or restricted, depending on the user identifier.

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Yes, we’ve heard it before… but we haven’t heard it lately. According to Bob Poniatowski of TiVo Product Marketing, the new PSP and iPod conversion/sync is expected in February. More importantly, he reiterated TiVo’s commitment to the Mac platform and is hopeful we’ll see TiVoToGo support mid-2006.

Verizon’s FiOS TV Heads East

Dave Zatz —  November 21, 2005 — 1 Comment

Herdon, VA is the second community to receive Verizon’s TV offering beginning this week. Verizon’s FiOS TV provides television service over fiber optic lines utilizing both traditional broadcast technology and IPTV. They appear to be using the Motorola 6412 as the dual HD tuner hardware platform.

Unlike Verizon’s original deal in Texas, all of Fairfax County, VA has given Verizon the go-ahead to provide video to all residents, regardless of city jurisdiction. Additionally, state law in Texas has been modified which has resulted in Verizon being granted a state-wide license to offer television programming. I sure hope my state and local governments get on the ball – I’m oh-so-ready to dump Comcast.
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