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TiVo still in downward spiral despite design wins in US, Europe

TiVo tried to put a brave face on its numbers, but even with all the excitement it has on the edge of legal wins, along with new potential legal probl

By PETER WHITE

Published: 3 March, 2011

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TiVo tried to put a brave face on its numbers, but even with all the excitement it has on the edge of legal wins, along with new potential legal problems, and with fresh European and US cable companies buying into its service, its numbers look drab and a little tired – perhaps through funding too many lawyers, for too long.

It had Q4 service and technology revenues which added up to $41.4 million, not too far below this time last year, but hardware revenues fell substantially, which had always been planned with its new change of business model.

Alongside wins at Charter Communications and with Suddenlink now distributing TiVo in new markets, and what it calls a successful soft launch at Virgin Media in the UK TiVo would have us believe that everything is under control and with almost $200 million in the bank, we’d more or less agree, but with some reservations.

During the quarter gross service additions for TiVo have been good, especially those it sells direct to customers and not through an operator, up 30% year-over-year, and it says another recent win is that advertising solutions will now be offered by Turner Broadcasting to help marketers reach consumers who fast-forward through traditional commercial spots. However while gross additions were up, net additions are still going down, though not as fast, with fourth quarter losses of 55,000 down from losses last time of 72,000.

Tom Rogers, President and CEO of TiVo, said, "Over the past year, we solidified our leadership position in the rapidly evolving next generation advanced television landscape, winning several key distribution deals with operators such as Charter Communications and beginning significant deployments with Virgin Media and Suddenlink, proving that TiVo is the best choice for the operator community when it comes to a currently deployable and proven hybrid television solution.

"It's hard to replicate what TiVo is doing. In an on-demand world, there are three critical components that are required in solutions that aspire to broad adoption: first is bringing all elements of on-demand content into one elegant environment; second is providing a first-class user experience that goes beyond just simple connectivity; and third is addressing the unique infrastructure needs of each multi-channel operator. We believe our success in these areas has opened up a path to potentially gain significant subscribers over the next several years through existing relationships with Virgin, ONO, Canal Digital, RCN, Suddenlink, and now Charter, as well as helping us to win additional distribution deals."

If TiVo was first to spot that this process of helping operators embrace OTT was a great new market for it, it is no longer out on its own, with players like NDS, Rovi and even Technicolor, all starting to offer similar end to end solutions for doing this. But we’d concede that TiVo has more design wins than anyone else and its patent hoard (not the basic time warp patent but others) and its experience puts it ahead.

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