Australia's Hybrid TV Launches Radio Podcasts on TiVo

--Podcasts Feature Highlights from dmg Radio Australia's Nova and Vega Networks
--19 Cable Channels Added to Roster of Networks and Channels Measured by TiVo StopWatch

Hybrid Television Services, the Seven Media Group subsidiary that holds an exclusive license for TiVo products in Australia and New Zealand, is launching a podcast service today for Australian TiVo customers, following a deal it struck with dmg Radio Australia last December. According to the company, the new service--which all TiVo users in Australia will automatically receive on their TiVo devices at no additional charge--provides highlights of all seven regional breakfast and drive-time shows on dmg Radio Australia-owned radio networks, Nova and Vega, and will be updated on a daily basis. The podcasts will stream "on-demand," Hybrid TV says, meaning that they will start playing immediately once the end-user selects them.

While broadband data services in Australia are typically metered, Hybrid TV says that customers of its "unmetered partners," Internode and Primus (starting June 1st in the latter's case), will be able to stream the podcasts without incurring additional data charges. "Radio is loved by Australians and until now the radio experience has been quite separate from the TV experience," Hybrid TV CEO, Robbee Minicola, said in a prepared statement. "This new podcast service is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of how we want to bring radio into the home...both on the TV and more importantly played through TV sound system. dmg took a chance with us to experiment and deliver this service; that's what this new world is all about--partnerships that let the consumer win. This new service is just another surprise for our customers when they turn on their TiVo: automatic, free and no worries about subscription." Added dmg Radio Australia CEO, Cath O'Connor: "The TiVo media device provides a new platform for dmg Radio as a content owner. Launching Nova and Vega podcasts through the TiVo is another exciting example of the broadening opportunities that we see to have our content reach beyond broadcasting to other platforms. Initiatives such as this allow us to capitalize on the growing interest in radio podcasts, which can now be offered from the central screen."

In other TiVo news: The company said Friday that it has added 19 cable channels--including HDNet, HDNet Movies, Bloomberg, Logo, MLBTV and NHLTV--to the roster of broadcast networks and cable channels measured by its StopWatch service. According to TiVo, the service--which collects anonymous second-by-second audience research data from TiVo boxes and which the company recently announced would increase its audience sample size from 100,000 to 300,000--now measures 112 networks and channels. The company touts the service's already-large sample size as making it highly accurate and as enabling it to produce stable ratings data for cable networks that have hitherto "gone unmeasured by the industry currency" because of their narrower distribution and lower viewership. "It is astounding that in this day and age, where every Internet click is measured, these television networks, which deliver tens of thousands of viewers every day, with millions of ad impressions, remain unmeasured by the industry currency," Todd Juenger, VP and general manager of TiVo Audience Research & Measurement, said in a prepared statement. "As we continue to increase our sample size from 100,000 TiVo subscribers to 300,000 in advance of the fall television season, we will continue to add coverage for more networks that are not measured by the existing currency panel."

TiVo also announced Friday StopWatch's Top Commercial and Program Rankings for March 2009: "While 'Grey's Anatomy' held the top three programs and top eight commercials in terms of Total Viewing, a closer look reveals that once again, per usual, there is essentially no correlation between the programs with the most viewership and commercials with the most viewership," TiVo's Juenger said in a prepared statement. "The highest viewed commercial, Paramount's trailer for 'I Love You Man,' did not air in the highest rated program, the March 26th episode of 'Grey's Anatomy' which actually claimed the number-one spot in both Timeshifted Viewing and Total Viewing. The episode did manage to place four spots in the top 10, but where are the other 36 or so spots from that episode? This data reinforces, as it does every month, that paying to be in the number-one program does not necessarily mean you will get the highest commercial audience...When looking at rates of fast-forwarding for overall commercial campaigns, in addition to the usual appearance of a few motion picture titles, we see a lot of credit and debit card campaigns. In fact Visa's credit card ad is number one on broadcast networks and number three on select cable and broadcast networks. Comcast also makes both the broadcast and select cable and broadcast networks lists, at number-six and number-ten respectively. The way viewers choose to fast-forward through commercials, or not, can tell us a lot about the collective consciousness. Here we see consumers contemplating their credit card situation, and looking for bargains on home entertainment." (Note: more detail on StopWatch's March, 2009 rankings can be found at: http://tivo.mediaroom.com/index.php?s=43&item=381.)

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