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Miller to get time on TiVo in ad deal

The digital video recorder company announces a one-year agreement with Miller Brewing Company as it tries to reach out to advertisers.

It's Miller time for TiVo.

The digital video recorder company announced Tuesday a one-year agreement with Miller Brewing Company. Under the deal, the beer maker will sponsor TiVo programming and will get a seat on TiVo's advertising board, which is working to develop interactive ad formats.

TiVo's programming includes "TiVo Takes," a weekly show that highlights upcoming television that viewers might want to record.

San Jose, Calif.-based TiVo also announced partnerships with ad agencies Starcom MediaVest and Digital@JWT to develop interactive advertising. The agencies will also join the advertising board.

Digital video recorders are set-top boxes with hard drives that allow people to record programs without using videotape. Viewers can replay live television and program the box to anticipate and record shows that might interest them, based on previous selections. Subscribers can also use the service to fast-forward past content, such as commercials--one of the selling points for TiVo.

The perception in the television industry has been that the service allows viewers to cut advertising out of the TV viewing.

"TiVo is committed to working closely with innovative advertisers," Stacy Jolna, TiVo's chief programming officer, said in a statement.

TiVo does not manufacture the digital video recorders itself. Instead, viewers subscribe to TiVo's service, which costs $9.95 per month or $200 for a lifetime subscription. Sony and Philips Electronics manufacture the recorders for TiVo.

ReplayTV was TiVo's direct competitor until November when the company announced it would stop selling its own brand of digital video recorders and would instead license its recording technology to cable providers and other television-related companies.

TiVo's announcements Tuesday may help the company avoid the fate of ReplayTV. Mark Snowden, a Gartner analyst, said the new advertising relationships are a step in the right direction.

"The announcements are meant to bring these companies together to implement interactive advertising, which will be a new direction for the advertising industry," Snowden said. "Gone are the days of straight ad buys. Now all entities need to get involved from the networks down to the programmers."

TiVo announced earlier this year that it will add expanded search technology to its service, allowing subscribers to search for shows using names, themes, actors and key words.

The company will report its fourth-quarter earnings Tuesday afternoon.