The Critical 'I'

Read. React. Repeat.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

USA Today's David Lieberman reports on Tivo's critical juncture, as it's on its last chance to secure its position before competitors steal its thunder.

This is very much what I observed about Tivo's bleak future, back in late 2003. In particular, I noted this key factor:
... My feeling is that having a separate bill for DVR service, even if it's a nominal amount like $10-15 monthly, on top of a cable bill, is an impediment. Integrating that charge into the cable bill, even if it's for the same amount, is a much easier sell for the majority of consumers. Thus, the DVR that's provided by the cable company has a much better chance of penetrating the market, and dominating it, to the disadvantage of Tivo.
Compare that to the latest research, cited in Lieberman's piece:
Still, many TV viewers prefer cable's lower price and the convenience of having everything in one box.

About 11% of people who express a strong interest in buying a DVR opt for the $10-a-month cable box option, while only 5% like TiVo's model, according to a survey Leichtman commissioned in June.
Do I know that cable consumer market, or what? I'll mark it now: Tivo will be a quaint, defunct memory by 2007. The caveat kicks in if it gets acquired, perhaps by Rupert Murdoch as a way to bolster DirecTV; but I'd rate the chances of that as very long.