Universal Pictures in Promo Deal with ReplayTV
Seagram's motion-picture unit announced at the end of August that it has entered an agreement to promote new releases via ReplayTV, despite the fact that Replay's personal video recorders (PVRs) haven't been a huge marketing success. But PVRs are expected to make a major dent in the consumer-electronics market in the near future, according to analysts from Forrester Research, who estimate that the presence of PVRs in American households will grow from about 800,000 units this year to 53 million in 2005.
TiVo, Inc., ReplayTV's rival in the budding PVR business, has also explored promotional ventures, with companies on the scale of Procter & Gamble and General Motors; but ReplayTV will be first with movie trailers.
One problem PVRs present to advertising-driven television networks and ad agencies is the capability of users to skip commercials. Universal will avoid this by occupying a "zone" on the ReplayTV Network, similar to a program listing guide, where viewers will be able to click through several Universal trailers and film clips. Some of the material in Universal's "zone" won't be available elsewhere, according to Replay's advertising VP, Michael Teicher.
ReplayTV will be able to gather information on the effectiveness of the ads via interactive features on its network. Part of the appeal of interactive television is that it offers advertisers more direct feedback about their campaigns, allowing them to further refine "target marketing." Michael Joe, Universal Pictures' VP of business development and strategic planning, says the one-year experiment will give his company "the opportunity to learn how to best communicate our brand messages to consumers in a personalized medium." Seagram's Universal Music Group is an investor in ReplayTV.