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TiVo refocuses on cable and satellite allies

Jeff Klugman gets a promotion to improve the DVR provider's relationships with partners like Comcast and DirecTV.

DVR provider TiVo has launched a new service division to keep cable and satellite partners like Comcast and DirecTV happy and to expand other business relationships, it said Friday.

To help the new group run smoothly, the Alviso, Calif.-based company promoted Jeff Klugman to the rank of senior vice president and general manager. Klugman will oversee the sales, marketing, engineering and all of the other activities TiVo checks off its list in getting providers to promote TiVo boxes alongside their cable and satellite services.

More than 3 million customers pay a $12.95 monthly fee to use TiVo's digital video recording service, which lets users pause live TV and, in some cases, move recorded programs to a home computer or portable device. TiVo's service works with all the major broadcast, cable and satellite providers.

TiVo Series2 DVR
Credit: TiVo Inc.

But while TiVo helped pioneer the DVR category, the company continues to face strong competition from service providers such as DirecTV, which has developed its own device, and from other consumer electronics makers that are making similar DVR products.

Still, TiVo presses on by partnering with providers like Comcast and DirecTV. The Comcast deal announced in March is particularly significant, because the two companies have agreed to make TiVo's DVR service and interactive advertising capability available over Comcast's cable network.

The first of their co-developed products will be available in mid- to late-2006 and will use the TiVo brand. Klugman said he would oversee the development of the product line from the TiVo side of the deal.

Beyond Comcast, which is a personal project of newly appointed CEO Tom Rogers, the task of building the TiVo brand amongst service providers and keeping the company's current contracts humming along falls into Klugman's lap.

"Our intent is that we want a broad footprint in the market. We are engaged in conversations with all of the major service providers," Klugman told CNET

Klugman also uses words like "mass deployment" and "broader distribution" when referring to his new duties. That's two items Rogers said he would focus on when he spoke to reporters this week. Rogers officially replaces TiVo co-founder Mike Ramsay today as CEO. Ramsay said he will continue to serve on TiVo's board and lead the company's technology committee.

Before joining TiVo, Klugman was CEO of outdoor adventure Internet portal PointsBeyond. Klugman also did a stint at Quantum, where he founded the company's consumer electronics business.