DVRs dominate talk at confab

Wed Sep 16, 2009 1:24am EDT
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By Paul Bond

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Jay Leno and Jeff Zucker have been thinking a lot about TiVo lately. And, at least in the case of the NBC Universal boss, not entirely in a good way.

Zucker was telling an investor conference on Tuesday that Leno's new 10 p.m. show is in part an answer to TiVo and its imitators, and that he does not intend to bury his head in the sand when it comes to threats posed by digital video recorders (DVRs).

Zucker's remarks came at almost the same moment that TiVo CEO Tom Rogers was suggesting -- at the same conference, no less -- that some TV executives still underestimate how dramatically the game has changed since DVRs were introduced a decade ago.

"Commercial avoidance -- the issue that the media industry wants to avoid," Rogers said. "I must say, I TiVo-ed Leno last night," Rogers continued. "I was tickled pink that he had as one of his first jokes, TiVo."

(Leno on Monday quipped that, "I set my TiVo to record 'The Biggest Loser.' I got the Lions game." The Detroit Lions have lost 18 straight regular-season football games.)

"Jeff Zucker started his comments a little while ago by talking about Jay Leno's new show and how they were going to deal with TiVo-ing it at 10 p.m.," Rogers said at the conference. "That's been a stated objective of theirs -- to make sure that there's an answer to the increased amount of recorded viewing at 10 o'clock."

Rogers might or might not be right about the disinterest in DVRs that is expressed -- or at least feigned -- by some TV execs. But that description certainly doesn't apply to Zucker.

"One of the biggest changes in television has been the digital video recorder," he said Tuesday. He promised that the new Leno show will be "as DVR-proof as you can be on television in this era," in part due to lots of product integration.   Continued...

<p>Host Jay Leno gestures during a panel for his upcoming television series "The Jay Leno Show" at the Television Critics Association Cable summer press tour in Pasadena, California August 5, 2009. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni</p>