The key to TiVo’s staying power

Sally Herships Sep 8, 2015
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The key to TiVo’s staying power

Sally Herships Sep 8, 2015
HTML EMBED:
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Three, eight and nine. Those three numbers are one of the key reasons TiVo is still around.

After it first came out in the ’90s, the maker of the box that could record and rewind your TV broadcast was all the rage. But now, with the likes of Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Instant Video, why are consumers still using TiVo?

“TiVo owns what we call the 389 patent,” explains David Miller, managing director with Topeka Capital Markets. 

If you’re part of the television industry, you may well know that Patent 389 protects some important technology: “the ability to pause, rewind and replay a live television signal,” says Miller.

So when you rewind an episode of “The Walking Dead” or “Game of Thrones,” there’s a good chance you’re using TiVo’s technology, and your cable company is paying a licensing fee so you can. The company has also figured out, notes Miller, how to keep up with the changing ways in which we watch TV  sometimes not even on a television.

“The TiVo product is really the only the way to store, record and organize content from all kinds of disparate, different distribution mechanism, including the internet,” he says.

Last quarter, TiVo had only 6 million individual subscribers worldwide. And though the company says its subscribers grew in number — 30 percent more than the year before — Jeff Baumgartner, technology editor with Multichannel News, says it’s individual consumers who are still proving a hurdle for the company.

“That’s been their challenge right now, is how to grow the retail side of their business,” he says.

TiVo reports earnings today. If only it could fast forward its own growth.

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