TiVo’s Tebow Ads Hit, DVRs Return To Walmart

As TiVo allows me to skip commercials, I’ve yet to see their new Tim Tebow ads on television. Fortunately the company has begun posting the spots on YouTube. And, overall, they’re cute but relatively innocuous — with more lines given to child actors than Tebow and, sadly, TiVo product sees very little screen time. In fact, in the ad embedded above, their in-house crew provides zero exposure to TiVo hardware or interfaces… although we do get a glimpse at the back of both an iPad and flat panel television. As mentioned last week, we believe a more effective approach would be spotlighting the experience – as Apple has done with iPad commercials (and Virgin Media did with TiVo).

Interestingly, with little fanfare, we’ve also learned via these new ads that TiVo has rekindled their prior retail relationship with Wal-mart who will begin carrying the TiVo Premiere DVR and “drive incremental sales.”


From a recent visit to a Walmart in Lancaster, PA we see that TiVo Premiere units are now on store shelves. Unfortunately, the retailer has sullied the TiVo box description with an inventory or shipping label and security device. Further, there’s no nearby signage indicating TiVo’s value-add or, more importantly, highlighting the required additional service fees.

18 thoughts on “TiVo’s Tebow Ads Hit, DVRs Return To Walmart”

  1. “And something seems off with the audio… send it back to post!”

    Don’t send it back to post. They’re the ones who screwed it up. Send it back to Jesus. He’s got a heavenly post-production facility able to do divine audio sweetening.

  2. There wasn’t very much fanfare when they introduced Roku at Walmart a year and half ago either. You’d think it would be the sort of thing that people would want to better publicize. It would be interesting to know whether TiVo’s return to Walmart has more to do with them paying more for a distribution deal or if this is a change in Walmart’s Vudu strategy. Methinks this means a Vudu channel on TiVo by the end of 2013.

  3. Vudu on TiVo would be pretty killer… especially since Amazon doesn’t seem interested in updating their app. Related, that guy who was hired to be champion TiVo’s new Developer API program has left the company after just 10-11 months. Wonder what that’s all about.

  4. “especially since Amazon doesn’t seem interested in updating their app. Related, that guy who was hired to be champion TiVo’s new Developer API program has left the company after just 10-11 months. Wonder what that’s all about.”

    It really is bizarre that Amazon doesn’t have Prime on TiVo yet. It’s definitely in Amazon’s interest to have Prime wherever folks consume video, and their corporate strategy seems to be to put Prime clients in as many places as they can.

    Occam’s Razor leads one to believe that TiVo’s API dysfunction has got to be the culprit here. Or am I missing something?

    “Vudu on TiVo would be pretty killer”

    Don’t see the point. Amazon’s a-la-carte is pretty equivalent to Vudu’s in selection and pricing, and one imagines any Vudu/TiVo offering would be pure streaming, as opposed to the superior experience of Amazon’s download to TiVo scheme.

  5. Vudu has exceptional pq and is a member of the Ultraviolet consortium… or is it cartel. And you can have Walmart “convert” and store all your DVDs and Blu-rays in the Vudu cloud.

  6. As someone who watches a lot of CNBC running in the background I saw the TiVo spot #1 about 5 times yesterday. I think it does raise awareness that TiVo is still around, etc. Spots 2 & 3 are better at showcasing the TiVo product. I really like the “Finger Quotes” ad the best.

    I will make the prediction that TiVo drives enough sales with this campaign to almost break-even on retail subs in Q4.

    As far as Walmart goes, I think Vudu would be beneficial to TiVo as it would be another high-profile OTT provider that supports the TiVo platform. And as you point out it supports the dysfunctional UV consortium. I’m a fan of how the Vudu platform allows a user to watch movie trailers of potential purchases.

  7. There will probably be many returns when customers find out about the monthly and lifetime subscription cost. It will also be convenient to pick up a premiere at walmart to replace a failing hard drive or power supply on a lifetime premiere.

  8. I wonder if he left because of how slow TiVo moves. It could also be TiVo has reverted back to their closed ways and they weren’t as open as he thought they should be with regards to their API.

  9. Well, the one with “air quotes boy” is definitely better than the others. Tebow, though, pretty much just sits there while the kids earn his salary for him. :)

    It’s good for Tivo though, in that Tivo hasn’t run tv ads or shown any other signs of life to the general masses in about a bazillion years. They’re restarting brand awareness almost from scratch. So anything is better than nothing.

  10. FYI. Sam Biller is a stock holder and known pumper on many different stock boards. I feel like he needs a disclaimer every time he posts.

  11. It’s true he’s an investor and always more optimistic than I when it comes to retail. But beyond his personal insight as both an investor and customer, he also has ongoing dialogs with TiVo’s chief counsel, head of IR, director of communications, and beta testers — I’d say he’s more looped in than anyone not employed by TiVo. For example, when Sam says Pique is launching early next year without a caveat, I assume he knows something.

  12. Seeing the comment notice from an anonymous poster with a derogatory screen name (Jack Mehoff) made me hesitant to comment. Its not secret that I’m a TiVo Bull who uses my “real name”, email address, phone number, etc.

    I’m also a heavy TiVo User since the Series 1 boxes. I would be happy to post a screenshot of My Account page at TiVo.com if anyone is really interested. FWIW, between my Mom and I, we have 8 active TiVo devices and 5 inactive (Series 1,2) devices. I use my real name and I fully disclose that I’m both a TiVo Investor and technology enthusiast on my twitter handle (@techwzrd). I fully disclose my TiVo long stock and option position as well on every one of my Seeking Alpha articles about the company.

    Dave, as far as TiVo’s social Pique initiative launching early next year, that’s pure speculation on my part. Its really based on the fact that Jeffrey Gattis’ has been with TiVo since November, 2010 so we are past two years since he started. The timing for a launch feels about right to me especially since its been in private beta for quite some time. Of course, TiVo could decide that its just not ready and delay the launch for further development a la TiVo Mini.

    In general, TiVo is extremely cautious at providing me any information that could even remotely hint at disclosing items that could materially impact company financials — they are extremely compliant with regulation fair disclosure (Reg-FD).

    Regarding my optimism on the retail front, the trends are improving. Its disappointing that the TiVo Mini isn’t available yet to the public since I think it will be a bigger hit than the Stream which has probably already sold 10,000 units in 3 months. The TiVo Mini’s success level is clearly dependent on pricing and whether or not a subscription is required. I think TiVo will play around with pricing on the Mini while at the same time be reticent to not disrupt the pricing/subscription models of their MSO partners that will also be offering the Mini box. We know that RCN already offers the Preview non-DVR box for $9.95/mo so my speculation of a retail subscription rate of $4.95/mo or $99 lifetime is based on an extrapolation of RCN’s sub fee taking into account the zero up front cost of the Preview box for RCN subscribers.

  13. “FYI. Sam Biller is a stock holder and known pumper on many different stock boards. I feel like he needs a disclaimer every time he posts.”

    First, this is not a stock board. A short general perusal should demonstrate that to you. Concern about TiVo’s financial action here is pretty much confined to general curiosity and how it’ll effect the user experience.

    Second, as Dave and Sam subsequently noted, Sam does publicly disclose on this blog, as is a known commenter here. Also, he’s pretty disclosure-friendly elsewhere on the nets under his name.

    Third, as a TiVo user, Sam is an appreciated commenter here by folks like me. He’s a real value add on this blog.

    In short, you’re barking up the wrong tree here.

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