BSkyB and TiVo form Strategic Alliance

Last week, TiVo and Britain's Sky Broadcasting Group (BSkyB) announced an alliance that the companies claim marks the introduction of personal television to the United Kingdom. According to TiVo, "state-of-the-art personal video recorders similar in size and shape to VCRs and digital set-top boxes will deliver the personal television service, which will be co-branded by TiVo and Sky." The companies say that products and services are expected to be available in retail outlets this fall, with pricing and distribution to be announced shortly.

The companies say the agreement will result in the co-branding, co-marketing, and sale of personal video recorders in the UK, and that several consumer-electronics companies are expected to manufacture the devices. A TiVo spokesperson says that "today's expansion into the UK marks TiVo's first venture outside its home market," and adds that "personal television is a revolutionary development that will forever change the way Britons view TV by giving them complete control over what they watch."

TiVo's Mike Ramsay says that "through this partnership, we will be able to deliver the entertainment experience we have pioneered in the US to customers in the UK. Because of its dominance of the UK digital television market, Sky is our natural partner." BSkyB's Tony Ball adds, "our exclusive alliance with TiVo is a natural fit for Sky. It underlines Sky's determination to remain at the forefront of the broadcasting revolution."

According to BSkyB, their digital television platform, Sky Digital (soon to be supported by the TiVo technology), launched back in October 1998, is undergoing the "largest growth of any digital platform worldwide," with more than 2.6 million sales claimed to date. "Sky Digital has offered real interactivity through the television for the first time, including interactive sports coverage through the Sky Sports Extra channel, and home shopping, banking, and e-mail."