TiVo announced their 2Q2012 financial results today, followed by the corresponding quarterly financial call. The call was where the most interesting news came out though. Early on, at the 07:06 mark, TiVo CEO Tom Rogers confirmed what we basically already knew, RCN will be the first MSO to ship the TiVo Premiere Q/Elite and TiVo Preview later this year. He also mentioned things continue to go well with Suddenlink, and that their recent deployments in North Carolina are the first using an Arris head end system for VOD. So that deployment is proving out TiVo’s implementation of Arris VOD support. (Previous deployments were using the SeaChange VOD head end.) TiVo also anticipates the first trial with Charter later this year.
But, IMHO, the real big news came at the 08:01 mark when Tom said:“Our deal with DirecTV is moving toward launch with the DirecTV TiVo HD DVR now being manufactured. And we expect DirecTV to publicly share specific launch details in the relatively near future.” I know we’ve had numerous release date promises in the past, but DirecTV isn’t going to begin manufacturing hardware if they don’t have pretty damn solid plans to release it. Perhaps the new HD DVR DirecTV obliquely referred to on their recent financial call really was the new DirecTiVo after all.
Later in the call, during the Q&A session at the 42:26 mark Rogers talks a bit about the agreement with DirecTV including the“significant marketing obligations” DirecTV has once the new unit launches. He added that DirecTV will“have plenty of incentive to market based on those obligations.”
And finally, at the 46:42 mark he is asked about the 08:01 statement regarding the new DirecTiVo being in manufacturing, specifically if that means the code had been accepted. In response Rogers stated:“…the boxes are in the manufacturing process with our code having been delivered…” So it sounds like things really are, finally, moving forward to release and based on the statements on the call I think we’ll see the units released this year.
I’m not going to place a bet on it though. Not just yet.
As for the financial results in general, TiVo’s MSO business is starting to show positive results.
TIVO INC. OTHER DATA Three Months Ended Subscriptions July 31, -------------------- (Subscriptions in thousands) 2011 2010 --------- --------- TiVo-Owned Subscription Gross Additions: 25 32 Subscription Net Additions/(Losses): TiVo-Owned (43) (48) MSOs/Broadcasters 10 (77) --------- --------- Total Subscription Net Additions/(Losses) (33) (125) Cumulative Subscriptions: TiVo-Owned 1,165 1,366 MSOs/Broadcasters 763 1,018 --------- --------- Total Cumulative Subscriptions 1,928 2,384 % of TiVo-Owned Cumulative Subscriptions paying recurring fees 57% 56%
So while they continue to bleed TiVo-owned subs, losing a net 43,000 this quarter – which was down from a loss of 48,000 a year earlier, the MSO subs grew by a net 10,000. That’s an improvement of 87,000 from the loss of 77,000 subs a year earlier. I’m sure a lot of that reversal is due to Virgin Media alone adding over 50,000 subscribers, with the rest contributed by RCN, Suddenlink, & TiVo in ANZ and likely reduced losses from DirecTV. Also a positive, the average revenue per MSO subscriber increased from $1.20 a year ago to $1.94. Clearly the new subscribers are worth more to TiVo.
Update: While I was writing up this post, Dave Zatz also posted at Zatz Not Funny. The biggest piece of evidence is this new DirecTV training video which DBSTalk members noticed, and that Engadget obtained and posted:
Unfortunately the video confirms some of the earlier rumored information. It does look like the hardware is similar to the old HR-22 DirecTV DVR. The video confirms that the units do not support multi-room viewing. They do support networking and other DirecTV network-based features, so whole home support could theoretically be added via a software update. And the UI appears to be the old SD UI, as first reported a couple of years back. There had been some hope that all of the delays meant the unit had been updated. On the other hand, the new box appears to come with the same remote as the TiVo Premiere.