TiVo (NSDQ: TIVO) has announced a partnership with the Chicago Tribune that will allow TiVo subscribers to automatically record the recommendations of TV critic Maureen Ryan. Right now it’s a pretty narrow project: It’s just one critic and it’ll only be available to about 100,000 subscribers in the Chicagoland area according to NYT. The article also reports that Tribune will get some fraction of the revenue from subscribers who sign up for the service. The companies are touting it mainly as proof of concept of how newspapers can continue to serve their readers, rather than anything needle-moving in its own right. In addition to recording the shows themselves, subscribers will get additional video commentary from Ryan downloaded to their box. Curiously absent from the announcement: a service that will cancel your recordings if Ryan gives them the thumbs down. Perhaps that will be in the next iteration. Release.
NYT: “…Thomas S. Rogers, chief executive of TiVo, said in an interview that TiVo was in talks about similar partnerships with other print media outlets. The service, if extended to other markets, could create new relevance for local television critics, whose numbers have shrunk in recent years as papers cut expenses.”
Along a similar vein, last week The New York Times (NYSE: NYT) offered a time-frame for opening up an API that will allow developers to create applications based on the company’s content. Interactive news editor Aron Pilhofer said some major parts of the service will be ready in six months, and he described the goal of the project as making the NYT “programmable.” How far the paper will open up and what this all means in practice remains to be seen, though the Trib-TiVo deal may offer a glimpse of the kind of stuff developers might come up with.
Update: This is shaping up to be a big day for TiVo, which announces earnings after the bell. In a separate announcement, the company says it will offer movies from Disney (NYSE: DIS) through a partnership between the companies and CinemaNow. The service will allow owners of TiVo Series2 and (eventually) Series3 boxes to download and watch movies for 24 hours. An unspecified selection of the content will be available in HD. Release.