Connected entertainment is key at MIPCOM

New technology offers advances in interactivity, panel says

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CANNES -- Accessing TV where, when and how consumers want was the theme of the day Wednesday as MIPCOM attendees pressed their pause buttons during the busy market to hear TiVo president and CEO Tom Rogers give a keynote speech before a panel focusing on "Connected Entertainment."

Rogers shared his vision for the future of television. The DVR giant called the TiVo service a "pop culture phenomenon" and reiterated his previous claim that TiVo is "the Google of TV."

Thanks to TiVo, Rogers said, "You can get anything you want whenever you want it." He added: "It gives you total control over how you watch television." Rogers called TiVo's "secret sauce" its ability to "make interactive TV something not just geeky, but totally simple."

TiVo has evolved from a simple digital video recorder tool to an interactive TV powerhouse that offers traditional and new forms of TV technology on a single interface.

Consumers love the commercial-free TV access, but the company has received criticism from advertisers uneasy about shelling out ad money only to be erased with the TiVo remote control. "We were the pariahs of the advertising world," Rogers said of consumers' ability to fast forward through commercials. Interactive TV formats like TiVo have raised concerns among industry execs who wonder what the new technology will mean for advertising in the future.

The facility of access to content also has its drawbacks, namely piracy and figuring out ways of making money from such services. "There's a lot of catching up to do in terms of how the monetization happens in this business," BBC Worldwide Channels managing director Darren Childs said at the "Connected Entertainment" panel, but added: "We believe great content will conquer all."

The panel also featured reps from connected entertainment companies Yahoo! Connected TV, vanguard news service Current TV, remote access viewing company Sling Media and Alcatel-Lucent.

Yahoo! Connected TV's EU director Shirlene Chandrapal had good news for multi-taskers, namely Yahoo's Connected TV service via which TV viewers can access web-based content while they're watching TV.

While the positive effects of such technology for consumers is evident, the repercussions of such technological innovations for global content providers and broadcasters in today's market remains unclear. "The point is for the consumer to decide," Rogers said.

Thanks to connected entertainment technology, consumers can now watch TV when they want (TiVo), where they want (Sling Media), surf the web while they're watching (Yahoo! Connected TV) and, thanks to TiVo's interactive service. can even order a pizza at the same time.