TiVo today reported their financial results for the second quarter of fiscal 2009, which ended July 31st. They had a good quarter, turning in their second profitable quarter in a row, and their third ever, with $2.9 million net income and $10.6 million adjusted EBITDA. TiVo highlighted a few items in their release:
- Adjusted EBITDA for the second quarter was $10.6 million compared to a loss of $(11.2) million in the year-ago quarter, exceeding guidance
- Net Income for the second quarter was $2.9 million compared to a loss of $(17.7) million in the year-ago quarter
- TiVo service on Comcast now available in Connecticut; Comcast will also continue to fund development work for the TiVo product to expand the feature set and add support for the Tru2way infrastructure
- TiVo and Entertainment Weekly join forces to connect TV viewers with their favorite shows on an automatic basis
- TiVo successfully launched in Australia by Seven Networks
- YouTube videos now available on the TiVo service; TiVo now provides access to more television and broadband content choices than any other offering in the world
- TiVo’s recent research deal with media marketing research firm TRA ties anonymous viewing behavior to product purchases in millions of homes; Significantly changing the quality of information available to marketers
TiVo is continuing to bleed subscribers, which was expected. With DirecTV continuing to push their in-house HR20/21 DVRs are upgrades for DirecTiVo users, even with additions from Comcast, Cox, and Cablevision Mexico, TiVo lost 136,000 net MSO/Broadcaster subscribers. And while TiVo added 36,000 gross TiVo-owned subscribers, they lost 78,000 gross TiVo-owned subs, for a net loss of 42,000 TiVo-owned subscribers. This is mainly due to legacy subscribers upgrading to HDTV and opting for cable or satellite DVRs. This leaves TiVo with 1.686 million TiVo-owned subscriptions and 3.623 total cumulative subscriptions.
This may sound bad, but it is also partly because TiVo has made massive cuts in their marketing efforts to focus on profitability instead of subscriber growth. For the quarter just ended their subscriber acquisition cost was only $135, a massive decrease from the $758 of a year ago, and only a slight up-tick from the $118 of last quarter. Instead of lots of marketing, subsidies, and rebates, which drive up SAC, TiVo is focusing on working with retailers and other vendors to bundle TiVo with HDTV purchases to capture those upgraders before they pick up another DVR. They’re also focusing on their partnerships with Cablevision Mexico, Comcast, Cox, and Seven Network in Australia.
And in that area things are looking good. The TiVo launch in Australia with Seven Network has been going well and TiVo is happy with it, though actual figures have not been released. And Comcast is finally ready to start a major marketing push and to announce more territories:
In regards to our mass distribution strategy, a top Comcast executive offered the following comments on the progress the TiVo on Comcast service has made to date: “We are pleased with the progress of the TiVo service and have broadened its footprint in our New England market to Connecticut. Refinements to optimize the product’s performance have been mostly completed, significantly improving the user experience. Importantly, we intend to light up a full marketing campaign around TiVo in September and, upon this occurring, we will be announcing multiple additional markets to which TiVo will be rolled out through next year. We will also continue to fund development work for the TiVo product, which will include expanding the feature set and adding support for Tru2way infrastructure.”
Rogers stated, “Additionally, the TiVo service on Cox, which is currently in trials, is on track for a launch in Cox’s New England market later this year.”
“On the international front, Seven and TiVo successfully launched the TiVo service in Australia and because of the significant consumer demand there, retailers chose to release the product early. We are also extremely pleased with the marketing shoulder Seven is putting behind this launch as they’ve prominently featured TiVo in their marketing and programming including the Olympic opening ceremonies, their top rated morning show, and a special advertising spot they developed, which includes dozens of Australian celebrities. International distribution is an increasingly important component of our business model and there continues to be tremendous interest from international distributors for the TiVo offering.”
During the Q&A session when asked if Comcast had gotten to the point where they don’t require a truck roll for the TiVo software install, Rogers answered that that issue was a dependency on non-TiVo software and that Comcast was close to deploying the solution. It sounded like that was the gating factor for Comcast to launch the marketing effort, and that also helps explain Comcast’s satisfaction despite the delays, it doesn’t sound like it was TiVo’s problem.
During the Q&A session at the end of the call, Rogers once again mentioned a tru2way TiVo box, what the user community has started calling a ‘Series4′. He didn’t offer any specifics (unsurprisingly), but his feeling is that it will take more time for the industry to establish a national tru2way playing field to make it viable to release such a product. Personally I think that they may show something, prototype perhaps, at CES in January with the release for later in 2009 as most of the cable MSOs have pledged to have tru2way in place by July, 2009. Just my speculation.