You have to feel for TiVo, who, after pioneering the concept and inventing the DVR and fighting a rear-guard action against video content providers, who claimed the very act of digitally recording TV and movie content for the purpose of time-shifted and advertisement-cleansed viewing was worse than a Mann Act violation (ask Chuck Berry), FINALLY last month reported the first profit in itseight-year history.
But within days of this glorious proclamation, satellite TV provider DirecTV — the source of 60 percent of TiVo’s nearly 3.6 million subscribers — announced that it would no longer promote TiVo exclusively to its 14 million customers, instead throwing its marketing weight behind a digital recorder built by NDS Group, coincidentally and synergistically owned, like DirecTV, by News Corp.
In reaction to this and similar competition from every direction, including other satellite and cable providers with cheaper monthly service rates, TiVo has cut prices of its digital video recorders to as low as $50 — after a $150 rebate offer, which runs through November and requires activation of a $12.95-a-month service before Jan. 15 — for a model that can hold up to 40 hours of television on its built-in hard drive, and $150 for the 80-hour model.
On the programming front, TiVo announced yesterday that the TiVo Fall TV Festival Showcase that it will deliver this week to subscribers will mark the first time all major networks — ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, UPN and WB — have partnered with the DVR pioneer to bring sneak peaks and previews of the new fall lineup to it’s subscribers. Subscribers can also schedule their TiVo DVRs to record the new shows they discover in the “showcase.”
“Our first-ever TiVo Fall TV Festival is the first of its kind one-stop shop that will allow TiVo subscribers to get a sneak peek of the best of the fall TV lineup from every major television network,” said Brodie Keast, executive vice president and general manager of TiVo’s consumer division.
Caught up in a promotional frenzy, TiVo has also launched a search for the ultimate TiVo Ambassador, the TiVo subscriber most passionate about the TiVo service. After proving his/her love for the TiVo service, the winner will receive more than $50,000 in prizes and the opportunity to spread the word in a brand new mini Cooper.