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Media want their Replay TV

Coalition to address personalized programming

News Corp., Time Warner, CBS, Disney and other media interests have formed a coalition to take on the makers of personal TV services — which allow viewers to replay broadcasts and, in some cases, skip commercials.

The coalition is expected to announce today that it will sue if necessary to force TiVo Inc. and Replay Networks Inc. to be subject to negotiations similar to the way studios license shows to networks or cable channels grant carriage to cable systems.

The services are based on a box that can download a programming guide to pick out a customer’s favorite shows and digitally record them for viewing at any time. The problem for broadcasters is that a user can either skip through the commercials or zap them altogether.

The media companies say they would prefer to avoid an adversarial relationship with the TV services. CBS, Disney, Discovery and N ews Corp. affiliate TV Guide Interactive recently became minority investors in TiVo.

Networks, have agreed to support TiVo on some level, because that service and others like it are seen as a step toward more interactive television, a development in which the nets all want to participate.

Separately Wednesday, TiVo signed on with Creative Artsts Agency for repsenation. CAA will introduce TiVo to its Hollywood clients, enabling the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company to connect with creators of TV programming content, including writers, musicians, producers, directors and actors, said Stacy Jolna, VP of programming and media partnerships for TiVo.

Industry backing

“TiVo has received major support from the entertainment industry, from studios to television networks to cable companies,” he added. “Now that we have signed aboard Hollywood’s most prominent talent agency, we see great potential for our viewers.”

CAA prexy Richard Lovett said he sees “compelling value in introducing our clients to TiVo’s unique service.”

TiVo competitor Replay Networks already has support from ICM, whose CEO, Jeff Berg, sits on Replay’s board. Replay has indicated recently that it has struck strategic alliances with major media partners.

(Dow Jones contributed to this report.)

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