TiVo CEO Tom Rogers today took part in a Q&A session at the Bear Stearns 21st Annual Media Conference, which is available as a webcast. Not a lot was said that we haven’t heard before in past presentations, such as last week’s earnings call. Rogers reiterated that TiVo is confident that the trial court will side with TiVo with respect to the trial awards, and that TiVo is doubtful that Dish Network really has a non-infringing work-around in place today which would dodge the injunction. There was an extensive discussion on advertising and where TiVo fits with their advertising and audience measurement offerings.
On the hardware front Rogers again stressed that TiVo is focusing on the TiVo HD platform, and that the TiVo HD is effectively not subsidized on sales direct from TiVo.com, and only minimally subsidized at retail (basically the retailers cut). That’s a different direction for TiVo, which had in the past heavily subsidized the hardware. This is a major part of TiVo’s effort to become profitable, but reducing their marketing costs. (Subsidies fall under marketing.) He also said that producing their own hardware, as opposed to becoming strictly a software provider to Comcast, etc, helps to drive innovation. TiVo is able to bring features to their own platform much faster than other platforms, including their growing focus on broadband content. During the discussion Rogers mention that they’ll have several announcements in that area in the coming months.
Touching on the Comcast OCAP software, Rogers said“There are some minor bugs related to some speed issues that we’ll work out in the next few months.” We’ve seen reports on those issues from the users who have already received the TiVo software. He also said Comcast plans to roll out the TiVo software in ‘multiple’ markets throughout the US this year.
They spent some time discussing TiVo and DirecTV, but they really danced around the possibility of DirecTV returning to TiVo as their DVR provider. Rogers did seem to hint at the possibility, as he has done in the past, but nothing really concrete was said.
Speaking of TiVo and DirecTV, reader John Garrison pointed me at a new user petition to get DirecTV and Dish Network to open their networks to third party providers like TiVo. Right now it only has 36 signatures, I think it’ll need a few more before anyone pays attention. Personally I don’t think online petitions ever really accomplish anything. It is better for users to email, or better yet snail mail, DirecTV, Dish Network, and the FCC if they want to see things change. And, if you do, keep it polite and civil.