TiVo Taps a New Topper

In a move clearly aimed at building alliances with other media companies, personal-video-recorder developer TiVo has named NBC vet Martin Yudkovitz president.

Yudkovitz spent 19 years at NBC, most recently as president of NBC Digital. That means he gets credit for things like teaming with Microsoft to create MSNBC but also gets blame for Internet train wrecks like the NBCi search portal.

Yudkovitz replaces Morgan Guenther, who exited the troubled TiVo in January. Mike Ramsay remains CEO of the company, responsible for the financial heavy lifting.

TiVo's curse is creating a product that's totally addictive to people who actually buy it but is too confusing or expensive to get more than half a million subscribers to sign up. Consumers first swear at it, then swear by it.

Yudkovitz's task will be building up alliances with other TV companies, particularly cable operators keen on deploying some sort of PVR technology but also TV networks and studios needed to develop product for TiVo-exclusive services.