At CES, Tivo Hits Prime Time

Comcast with Tivo InterfaceI love my Tivo. Just adore it…look forward to the blub blub blub every day when i bring up something i want to watch. I will not give it up when my cable or satellite provider offers me their version, i’m a devottee.  That’s from Lori, the tv watcher.    An as a marketer, Lori the Director of Emerging Media, I’m looking for innovative solutions for communicating to a consumer and I’ve always been a fan of what Tivo’s been trying to do by offering marketing solutions in a ‘skip the 30 second spot’ scenario. 

Initally, the only provider of some type of integrated marketing solution in the DVR world (now Dish and Direct are rolling out solutions), there has been constant chatter about why with such a great brand name (Tivo is now the ‘Kleenix’ of DVR’s), such a great user experience and devoted userbase and it’s only in 4.5 million homes.  The ongoing discussion has always been that Tivo needs to get out of the set top box business and focus on the service model; make more deals like its initial partnership with Directv and get into homes on top of their business model. This will also make the price point a little less painful. There are also many who feel like that the additional $10-12 dollars cost a month for seperate Tivo Service is too much and people would rather stick with the DVR solution that comes embedded in their distribution solution’s offering. What i call ‘vanilla’ DVR…can’t help it…Tivo is so much fun! The Directv Combo Tivo box is only an additional $4-5 dollars a month

So when it comes to recommending interactive broadcast marketing solutions and especially with the role out of a number of new product solutions this year, Tivo is an essay sell, conceptually.  But its hard to push the Tivo media buy out of the ‘test’ and ‘pilot’ mode with only 4.5 million homes to offer. When will Tivo hit maximum reach in the US market?

At CES, we have our answer. For the last year there’s been talk about a relationship with Comcast and Cox, the long awaited partnership with an MSO that every business analyst has been saying would save Tivo and launch it into its true calling, a service model. This week Tivo revealed its Comcast Interface at its CES suite…a simple software upgrade that is slowly being distributed in some Comcast’s markets and will eventually role out nationally. For an additional cost to be determined by Comcast, Tivo’s holistic interface will now be overlaid on top of Comcast’s offerings. We will now have a true integration of Digital Video Recorder and Video On Demand functionality (because Directv is a satellite company, their Tivo Combo box has no VOD offerings). We’ve all been saying that at some point with these home media solutions, a consumer won’t know if they are viewing VOD or DVR content, its just content they’ll access on their home box, with the technology solution being invisible to the user. The famed Tivo interface and search capabilities will now power the mighty footprint of Comcast Cable and soon Cox. True organic video search will be part of this offering.

Comcast with Tivo InterfaceTivo is also rolling out service solutions in Chinese and Spanish as well as some innovative branding opportunites.

Tivo Branded folderAn advertiser will eventually be able to brand an entire content area…allowing,  in this example, for Coke to sponsor a ‘American Idol’ folder which is automatically created when a user has recorded a series of shows (created a ‘season’s pass’ to a series).

And while its currently possible through Tivo’s home media option, to move music and photos to your box, and move video from your box to your PC, the next evolution will be the sharing of this content with other households.  Now Grandma can log on to her Tivo box and watch home movies you placed on your Tivo box in Los Angeles, with her’s in Florida.

Tivo One MediaTivo’s also playing around with the ability to provide recommendations in the form of record tags,  providing the ability for a user to directly set a record or season pass of another show that’s relevant to the show your watching. This would be a media buy which in this case, Fox or Coke the sponsor would place to drive more viewership.

REcord tagsi’ve just paused my ‘Dr. Who’ and i’ve got to get back to it…and yes, i watch the commericals.