TV Prediction’s Phillip Swann is Down on Tivo
Is TiVo Dead? TV Prediction’s Phillip Swann asks is TiVo already dead and we just don’t know it yet? Swann points to a lack of publicity in the mainstream press as an indicator that the company is not doing well and particularly posts out the lack of major media attention over TiVo’s singles mixer in San Francisco on Feb. 13.
Personally I think it’s a little premature to talk about the demise of TiVo based on the fact that the mainstream media is not picking up on a singles mixer in San Francisco.
From Swann: “According to a search of Google News, which posts articles from thousands of publications across the globe, the TiVo event was mentioned only by CNET’s News.com (based in the San Francisco area) and a few blogs.”
It might be worth noting also that a major financial publication (Bloomberg) just spent a half hour interviewing CEO Tom Rogers that I blogged about here (oh and also that was picked up by one of those minor “few blogs” out there, a little site called Slashdot).
Swann suggests that the demise of TiVo also has to do with lack of a viable presence in the cable/satellite world. “With the exception of Comcast, other cable and satellite TV operators have decided to use non-TiVo DVR services. (And Comcast’s deal with TiVo is non-exclusive and won’t begin until late 2006, if then.)”
With the exception of Comcast? Huh? Comcast is certainly one of the heavyweights and I’m not sure that the fact that the build out won’t be until later this year is indicative of anything. TiVo is putting significant company resources behind these efforts and I suspect that it will in fact finally turn their advertising revenue into something more than an insignificant footnote on their analyst conference calls.
Bloomberg’s recent story on TiVo also pointed to the fact that TiVo very well may be changing strategies shortly in order to better compete with the cable and sattelite generic freebie DVRs by offering a subscription only pricing model.
And then you’ve got the Series 3 TiVo which will generate a lot of buzz with the high end crowd.
And also it’s worth noting TiVo’s sizeable library of patents at the moment. Although Echostar, DirecTV, and the cable providers can make their own DVRs there are still patent issues to contend with and TiVo has some of the more lucrative patents in this market place. TiVo in fact is scheduled to go to court this Spring vs. Echostar on patent infringement and suing generic DVR providers very well could provide even more cash for the company.
By way of buzz though, TiVo still actually has quite a bit of buzz out there. Technorati (which covers blog posts, mostly over the past six months) currently shows 84,577 blog posts out there about TiVo. While they are not blogged about as much as Apple and Google for sure, at a market cap of only about $468 million vs. Apple’s $58 billion and Google’s $108 billion I think it’s fair to say that there is still quite a bit of buzz relative to their size. I’m not sure that citing the death of a company based on getting less mainstream media attention on a dating mixer than companies 100 to 200 times in size is the best analysis.
A better comparison might be with a company like Netflix (who still also has plenty of buzz) and clocks in at Technorati with about 50,877 posts about them, over 30,000 less than TiVo.
Although it’s easy to take potshots at TiVo with their stock being down and indeed fierce competition from the cable and satellite providers, I wouldn’t write their obitiary just yet. Swann would do well to remember the last highly publicized prediction of TiVo’s demise, Engadget’s TiVo death watch. Remember that? Over a year ago. Still ticking.