We’ve been following Tivo (TIVO) closely. We think the company is a value play on broadband distrubution of content to the home. The current financial trajectory is frightening, but investors have been holding out hope for either an acquisition or partnership that will spur the deployment of more Tivo’s. Tivo just announced a press conference tomorrow that appears to indicate a new partnership.
I’m really hoping for some refreshing news. Tivo is at the vanguard of the digital living room, with over 4MM customers and 1/2 of all deployed DVRs. Even in the face of ‘free’ DVR’s from DirecTV and Comcast they continue to keep loyal customers with a superior software interface and back-end infrastructure.
I’ve noticed a lot of very positive and frank interviews with Tivo execs in the last few weeks. I’ve been bookmarking and comment tagging them on the right side of this blog’s home page- here are two:
Now it’s clear that some grass roots marketing was going on. People are speculating on a partnership with Netflix. I’m hoping for a partnership with another content carrier, either Verizon/AT&T or an emerging player like Apple or Microsoft. Regardless, I hope it is strategic news.
You can buy Tivo for $125 a subscriber. If you back out the stranded and low-revenue Direct TV subscribers you pay about $300 a subscriber. If each of these customers plugged their Tivo into a broadband connection, you would have the largest installed base of digital-distrubution-enabled living rooms ready to download content.
UPDATE 9:45 AM March 2 2006 Looks like this is an announcement of Tivo KidZone, a feature that allows parents to better control what their kids watch. While this is great for current Tivo users, it isn’t clear to me that this service is going to help win another Tivo subscriber. If parents are relying on technology to control what their kids watch, that’s a problem in itself.