Later this month, TiVo plans to announce new international customers, and in October it will unveil a new product, TiVo Plus, that better integrates new streaming services with the company’s core TV console. After that, Shull said he’d like to design a more unified interface for the company’s 22 million customers and seek additional sources of revenue other than monthly subscriptions, such as advertising.
And from an owner who cornered TiVo staff at the CEDIA expo a few days ago:
They were even more sketchy [cagey?] about the TiVo+ Service. I got the feeling that the channels they would be adding are not the normal Cable TV channels, but rather some other obscure stuff.
While TiVo+ appears to be initially launching as something akin to the The Roku Channel or a Tubi-esque app of ad-supported video, it seems quite likely that the functionality is destined for much deeper integration and higher billing. In fact, beyond the app icon pictured above, it’s already being prominently advertised and accessed alongside What To Watch from TiVo’s main menu in pre-release software. So this may just be the first step of a much longer journey… should they stick with it. And, for additional bearing on the future direction, I’ll go ahead and quote myself quoting the interim CEO last year:
With the proliferation of content from multiple sources around the world that is delivered through broadcast, TV, OTT, on-demand and internet streaming, TiVo offers a powerful platform to engage audiences through a single, unified content discovery experience. The platform will enable end-users to experience content from leading digital brands integrated with live, recorded and OTT streaming titles. We are re-imagining the guide as one integrated content network that allows you to access all of the content you want to watch seamlessly. We believe this product has the potential to change how you watch TV again.
In addition, this unified discovery experience and content network will enable multiple high CPM targeted advertising opportunities for TiVo. These include sponsored discovery, content merchandising, display promotions, in-stream advertising, DVR ad replacement et cetera.
So while the first cut of TiVo+ may just feature random, ad-supported video, it seems they’re looking to more fully merge disparate content … and I’m told TiVo has actually tested running ads alongside DVR recordings. Which sounds quite obnoxious (and somewhere ironic, given Auto Skip), but could be a great strategy to lower consumer costs while boosting corporate revenue. Imagine an option to choose a fee-free, advertising-supported tier in addition to the ad-free traditional monthly (or Lifetime) service fees – similar to what Amazon does with its Kindle line.
As to the origins of the project (or is it projects?), I’m guessing this is what TiVo product guy David Shoop had championed before he departed for Amazon.
I also invented, built the strategy and currently serve as product lead for TiVo’s next gen TV platform (currently in stealth mode)
Guess it won’t be too long before we learn more!