At the turn of the century, TiVo introduced the world to the DVR and went on to lead the market for many years. In the two decades since, the television market has evolved significantly, affecting both the DVR brand and providers of traditional pay TV services. The decline of traditional pay TV and the rise of streaming services has been a challenge for both. With an increasing number of consumers taking broadband – but not TV services – from their provider, operators are losing incremental video revenues and their service bundles, a key strategy for attracting and retaining customers.
For its part, TiVo has undertaken several innovations over the past few years to adapt to the new normal in video. It introduced its own competitor to devices like Roku and Amazon’s Fire TV, announcing the TiVo Stream 4K earlier this year. More recently, TiVo and several of its cable operator partners – RCN, Grande Communications, and Wave Broadband – announced that they are working together to capture customers. These providers will bundle the TiVo Stream 4K with certain tiers of their broadband internet services, offering it for free for the first year of service and for a fee of up to $1.49 per month for the second year. The bundles also incentivize customers by giving them $10 off four months of Sling TV service.
For broadband providers, the partnership gives them a video play at a time when consumers’ interest in streaming is at an all-time high. For TiVo, broadband providers offer a unique distribution channel, one that is not dominated by market leaders Roku, Amazon, and Apple.
Dave Shull, TiVo president and CEO, commented at the time that the new product is “symbolic of our company’s transformation from a well-loved DVR provider to a pioneer in the streaming market.” The $50 HDMI dongle-based device is powered by Android TV and supports HDR, Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos. It enables casting as well, letting users cast to their TV from their phones.
It’s early days for TiVo in the streaming marketplace, but at the moment adoption has been slow, with just a fraction of the US purchasing the TiVo Stream 4K this year, according to Interpret’s New Media Measure®. Bundling with more operators could be one avenue to pursue, but it’s also important to recognize that TiVo has been operating its own ad-supported streaming service, TiVo+ for a year, and the new streaming stick does give the company a way to expand its ad business.