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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.
And Rogers must have loved what the NBC Unversal CEO said a bit later: "The No. 1 most-watched show at 10 p.m. in the last season was a show called 'TiVo,' and it's a great show," said Zucker.
"We can't put our heads in the sand and pretend that people aren't using DVRs -- and that people aren't consuming content online," Zucker said. "We don't want to be the newspaper business. We don't want to be the recorded music business."
Zucker and Rogers were speaking in New York at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia XVIII Conference.
Editing by DGoodman at Reuters