PR PLAY OF THE WEEK: TiVo gets its hook in just '60 Minutes'

SAN JOSE, CA: Viewers watching CBS' current affairs show 60 Minutes

on March 18 could have been forgiven for thinking they were watching a

commercial for TiVo, the personal video recorder.

The 12-minute piece, fronted by Mike Wallace, looked at the benefits of

owning the digital VCR, which can be programmed to record material on a

regular basis and on multiple channels simultaneously. Rivals, such as

Microsoft's Ultimate TV and Replay TV, were barely mentioned in the

segment, produced by Jay Kernis.

It also featured a family, provided by TiVo, who talked at length about

why they liked the product so much. Somewhat ironically, the absence of

advertising was a major reason.

The report was so glowing that the firm's stock rose 27% on Monday, and

in-house senior PR manager Rebecca Baer claims the customer care lines

were ablaze with potential subscribers.

The piece was a long time in gestation - Baer pitched 60 Minutes to no

avail a year ago. But when The New York Times Magazine did a cover story

on the subject in August, producers got back in touch. TiVo's in-house

team of two worked closely with Blanc & Otus to iron out potentially

negative issues the CBS show might have covered, such as privacy

concerns. TiVo CEO Mike Ramsay and chief technology officer James Barton

responded by telling viewers all data was consumer-protected from


Baer said that PR and marketing had helped move TiVo from a product for

early adopters into the mainstream.

The shareholders will certainly be happy. These include NBC, Disney and

AOL Time Warner. Oh, and CBS.

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