TiVo’s out with their quarterly earnings and things are looking up after a profitable quarter, with continued patent litigation/licensing success and subscriptions growing 44% year-over-year… largely thanks to Virgin Media’s success in marketing and deploying well over a million TiVo units (versus seeing any significant gain via that awful “new” DirecTV solution). With other foreign and second tier US cable providers on deck, we expect TiVo’s footprint to expand and the company predicts reaching a point of recurring profitability in fiscal 2014.
On the retail front, assuming my math is correct, it looks like TiVo is averaging 10,000 Premiere DVR sales per month, these last three months… but also averages about 5,000 monthly cancellations or boxes that no longer generate revenue. So while this is TiVo’s best net subscription performance in four years, they’ve still got work to do. Which is why their marketing department has recruited Tim Tebow to get the word out via a multimillion dollar advertising campaign. Yet he’s a highly questionable brand ambassador given his poor presentation skills (above), status as a backup quarterback who can’t throw, and spokesperson role for the conservative Christian organization Focus On The Family. Leaving us with the belief that those marketing dollars could have been more effectively allocated.
But we care most about the tech in these parts. And TiVo continues to bank on the killer TiVo Stream ($130) via retail channels as a compelling differentiator for TiVo+iPad/iPhone owners. Presumably Android support is on the way, although nothing official has been conveyed. Related, TiVo has been pushing forward overseas with more of an IPTV-esque “TV Anywhere” approach, sending live Virgin Media programming and on-demand to tablets, smartphones, and computers via the “cloud” as “those issues are a little less tense outside of the United States” - but they intend to be ready here as conditions improve. Regarding TiVo’s partnership with hardware manufacturer Pace, CEO Tom Rogers anticipates they’ll have a 6-tuner DVR ready “probably next year.” Whether or not that box, or one like it, ends up in retail customer’s hands remains up in the air. Although prior foreshadowing did indicate future TiVo DVRs may incorporate native TiVo Stream capabilities. Sadly, the only mentions of TiVo Mini DVR extenders is in relation to MSO cable partners and I have it on good authority that they’ve yet to determine their retail IP-STB strategy — and, frankly, as compelling as the tech may be to consumers such as myself, it may not make economic sense for them to launch such a product through a Best Buy or without a subscription.