TiVo Cranks Up Roamio Advertising


On the cusp of out-of-home streaming, and as anticipated, TiVo has begun to dial up Roamio advertising ahead of the holidays. By way of Steve Lunceford, as you can see above, Sea-Tac Airport is already blanketed in thousands of square yards of TiVo vinyl promoting the Roamio’s ability to offload recordings for our in-flight viewing pleasure. Beyond this multipanel behemoth, Steve also came across a lighted sign in a seating area that communicates:

Make travel plans with your TV shows. Download recorded cable shows to watch on your iPad. Only with TiVo Roamio.

Of course, only two of the three Roamio models… actually roam. But we’ll leave that mess to TiVo’s marketing and legal teams.

On the other end of the spectrum, on-box TiVo Roamio ad campaigns have recently increased, sullying the UI in a variety of locations and some owners are not pleased. Most onerous is the redesigned Pause Menu ad.


What I conveyed to the Associated Press in 2009 in equally applicable today… despite benefits of a vastly superior Roamio platform.

Dave Zatz, a 37-year-old network engineer in Herndon, Va., isn’t happy about it because he bought a TiVo digital video recorder and pays a subscription to skip ads. “It’s obnoxious,” he said of the ads that appear when a TV program is paused. He said other ads have been on the periphery or appear on the menu page. This is the first time he’s noticed TiVo layering an ad on top of an actual program. He said he’s been wondering, “Who are TiVo’s customers?” People like him, or advertisers? “They’re getting paid on both ends.”

14 thoughts on “TiVo Cranks Up Roamio Advertising”

  1. How much do you pay a month for WTOP? Also, it’s interesting given one of the early selling points of DVR was to avoid ads… If they don’t bother you, great. But they do bother me and it seems like I have some company in that regard. They obviously don’t annoy me enough to cancel, sell, etc. But TiVo loses some warm & fuzzy points. Also, it’s worth mentioning in a public forum as a couple Roamio reviewers I’ve corresponded with have not been exposed to ads – either TiVo didn’t have the ad inventory at the time, the ad units weren’t yet active, or maybe press boxes have been excluded.

  2. I am not much a fan of the ads on the TiVo. I don’t notice them much though. In reality, I think they would do much better if they limited them to be ads about their products, products their box handles (Hulu, Amazon, Netflix, etc.), and TV/Movies. Those types of ads fit in well and are complimentary. They are especially good if they say oh your watching the Hobbit, well the Hobbit 2 is coming out soon. I am also OK if the overlay TV commercials (thumbs up if you like this for info/coupons type stuff). I don’t think a Carbonite (referencing the picture posted) ad fits that at all.

  3. I never notice the ads at all.

    I attribute my decision to become a Carbonite BusinessPremier customer, even though that plan doesn’t support my OS, or provide me with any benefit whatsoever, to be just “one of those things”.

  4. “On the cusp of out-of-home streaming, and as anticipated, TiVo has begun to dial up Roamio advertising ahead of the holidays.”

    FWIW, back in bad old S4 days, I always figured this would be the game plan. Don’t spend on marketing the S4, since folks wouldn’t be happy with the lousiness of the product. But once they had an actual tasty product to sell, that’s the time to actually do some spending on marketing.

  5. The ads have never bothered me at all. It doesn’t inhibit the way I use the product at all and that matters to me. The only really minor nuisance is when the ad is at the bottom of the list and I use the skip forward button to get to the bottom and now have an extra button press to move up one item.

    Obviously, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. But I just don’t see what the big deal about the current use of ads on the Tivo box. Who cares that it tells me about Carbonite when I press pause. I just pressed pause so I’m not watching now. And if I want to see something on the screen I needed to press clear anyway to remove the time bar on the bottom so it’s not even an extra button press.

    As long as they continue to place the ads so that it doesn’t inhibit the way the user actually uses the Tivo then I have no issue with the ads. Of course I also don’t really get bothered by product placement in TV shows. I mean, I’m not watching the commercials and I want the show to make money so it can stay on the air. Product placement is the logical next step.

  6. “Daniel, some believe it mildly interferes with the experience.”

    Yeah. I think interfering with the Now Playing list is an inexcusable encroachment on what should be my experience.

    I’ve got no quarrel with the ads like the Charmin coupon in the top row, as depicted in Dave’s screenshot. But messing with the Now Playing list, much as the previous messing with the pause function, strikes me as a bridge too far.

    TiVo should feel free to display ads. I just dispute two particular instances of where in the UI they are displaying them.

  7. So far the ads have done absolutely nothing to prevent my normal use of the TiVo. And the ads have actually saved me some money. As long as they don’t interfere with my TiVo use then I don’t have a problem with the ads.

  8. I did an experiment last night… tried to get like ten of those $1 Charmin coupons since the ad doesn’t vanish and I’m not prevented from requesting more. Will see if it works.

  9. Dave, I think Paul’s comment was referring to TiVo activating a series of radio ads for Roamio (and not a comment about TiVo running ads on its boxes).

    I’ve heard a number of Roamio ads on WTOP as well as Roamio sponsoring blocks of time on 106.7 The Fan starting this week during the Junkies. Watch anywhere is still the message, but the creative is horrible, in my opinion.

  10. I don’t understand how TiVo expects to sell high-end 3TB Roamio Pros for $600 when all they offer is a low-end service with intrusive ads that is only going to get worse. They need to provide a high-end service, with no ads, and a guarantee that it will stay that way. Otherwise they won’t move many of their high-end DVRs. They are trying to serve two conflicting markets. Advertisers and high-end users. They need to pick one or the other. If TiVo tries to do both, they will crash. Advertisers want to reach the high-end users. All they are going to get is counterproductive resentment. When they realize that their advertising dollers are wasted, TiVo loses. Tivo should stick to serving their users.

  11. I was thinking about getting a TiVo until I found out they advertised on the interface. I am not about to spend money for my network, my TV, My DVR and My Cable Service for more advertising. This is a premium option, and I should not be subjected to more advertising. I use the pause button all the time on my RePlay TV. it would irritate me every time I had to click off of an ad to see my TV. As subscribers, we do not get any relief because of advertising, at least on TV we get to watch shows for free. What is the payback for the end user? That’s why its wrong, at least for me.

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