OK, I had a chance to listen to the entire call. Nothing too interesting, IMHO, no big news, leaks, etc. Just a few things I think are worth calling out.
This is kind of long, so I’ll cut it…
49% of their new subscriptions for the quarter were analog cable users. This reinforces their previous statements that the analog cable market is strong, and is a market TiVo will be focusing on as TiVo is just about the only DVR option for these users. (Cable DVRs require digital cable.) I think we’ll be seeing more of a push via cable MSOs, especially via TiVo’s deal with the NCTA, to get TiVo into analog cable markets.
TiVo’s churn rate (the number of users who drop the service) declined from an already extremely low 1% to .9%. TiVo users are extremely loyal. This highlights TiVo’s biggest challenge – getting systems into the hands of potential customers in the first place. Once they’ve tried TiVo, most (99.1% currently) will remain customers.
The Comcast software is on track for a rollout by the end of the year – late in the year. It sounds very much like Q4 is the target, and probably later in Q4. An early version of the Comcast software was demonstrated at CES to cable operators, and apparently went over well. (I didn’t get to see this at CES. I heard about it through the grapevine at the show from non-TiVo people, so I knew it was in the back room.) TiVo is still actively negotiating deals with other cable MSOs. They repeatedly stressed that they’re happy to see cable DVRs rolling out, because they view those DVRs as potential TiVo platforms, with just a software update. The current Comcast software has proven that they can bring the ‘TiVo Experience’ to other ‘generic DVR’ platforms by porting the software. TiVo feels that the superior features of the TiVo platform makes it an attractive premium DVR offering for the cable MSOs.
In the retail world, the big news is the addition of RadioShack as a new retail partner. Apparently KidZone was one of the major factors in bringing them onboard as a retail partner, and they’ll be using KidsZone as a marketing feature in their stores. RadioShack is a very active electronics retailer, with stores *everywhere*, so having a real TiVo presence in these stores is great for TiVo.
Two key phrases that caught my ear in discussion of revenue drivers were ‘broadband content delivery’ and ‘digital media center applications’. The former we’ve seen in its embryonic form, with Rocketboom, and a handful of other trials. But the real driver will be broadband movies on demand, IPTV, etc. I’d love to see, say, the Anime Network available on TiVo. It is already an OnDemand network on most cable systems, so making it OnDemand via broadband to TiVo wouldn’t be a big jump. I think TiVo really needs to setup an infrastructure that would allow 3rd parties to publish content and make it available, for a fee, via TiVo. TiVo would get a cut of the payments, but would not be involved in the content. That would allow anyone to market to the TiVo users – independent film makers, content owners, and yeah, adult companies I’m sure. Setup a platform and stand aside.
Digital Media Center Applications piqued my curiosity. I don’t know if they’re just referring to HME applications like the Yahoo, Live365, and Fandango additions, or if this means something more than that. There was the teaser, a few times during the call, that there are a number of announcements pending for the coming months.
And, yes, there was some mention of the Series3. Not many details, but the window has narrowed slightly. The release will be after mid-year, but before the fall shopping season kicks into gear. So I’d say no later than mid-November for that, and personally I suspect probably not before October. but I may be pleasantly surprised.