Call it a sign of the times; call it a public relations stunt; call it a sign of desperation…take your pick. CBS Televison and DVR pioneer TiVo have announced that TiVo subscribers will be able to record the new CBS comedy The Class up to a full week before its broadcast premiere on The Eye network. The Class stars Jason Ritter (well-received on Joan of Arcadia) as a man planning a third-grade class reunion as a surprise party for his fianc´…and, as they say, from there both hilarity ensues.
"We’re thrilled to be able to introduce this ground-breaking innovation to the industry while at the same time providing our subscribers with exclusives that no else can match," said Tom Rogers, TiVO’s CEO. "At the core of this fresh and forward-thinking campaign is the television industry’s recognition of the tremendous influence that our 4.4 million TiVo subscribers can generate as some of the smartest and savviest TV viewers around."
TiVo subscribers will also be able to view sneak previews and exclusive footage of three other CBS outings, all of which sport one-word titles: Jericho, Smith, and Shark. (Soon, CBS may have the technology to get titles down to just one or two letters, such as Uh or the long-gestating F.)
Although networks and advertisers have been wary of the commercial-skipping possibilities offered by DVR’s, CBS’s move may be interesting as an early indication of how networks and studios embrace DVR technology: pimping shows out early, offering exclusive content, and trotting out all the goods to get those season-long recording options set up well ahead of time. Because a TiVo or other DVR system records a show and its ads regardless whether anyone remembers to watch it, which at least creates the opportunity to put that material in front of demographic-enabled eyeballs without costly rebroadcasting.