Yesterday was the quarterly investor teleconference at TiVo, which was open to the public through streaming audio and a massive conference call system. I was letting it play in the background while working on other things, so I might have missed a few key details but the big picture news consisted of the following:
- TiVo finally broke even, and made a small profit after 7 years of losses. They are hopeful that the following quarters will continue the trend and show increasing profits instead of losses
- There are teams of TiVo and Comcast engineers working on a combo TiVo/Comcast unit that is set for release sometime in 2006. They referenced this several times as a big future subscriber growth path.
- TiVo is moving to a cellphone plan business model (something I've heard suggested since TiVo was released) where you get a TiVo for practically free if you sign a long-term service contract of a year or two. They believe a major sticking point with new customers is the cost of the box.
- TiVo's goals for the next year or so is to drive for more subscriptions and start working with advertising within the TiVo service, which they believe could be profitable once their subscriber base grows.
- It costs TiVo about $200 to acquire each new customer.
- They spent a significant amount of time comparing themselves to Sirius Radio, which has half of TiVo's subscriber base at a similar monthly subscription price, but Sirius has a $9 billion marketcap while TiVo's is only around $500 million. It sounded like a bit of sour grapes on the part of TiVo executives. :)
- While DirecTV is moving away from TiVo to the NDS R15 box, they are ordering up loads of R10 combo DirecTV/TiVo units for their existing promotions. DirecTV is still using the TiVo to drive new subscriptions even though their own product is coming soon, and this was a bit perplexing for TiVo execs.
- They are in dicussions with multiple cable operators, trying to use free TiVos as a way to lure new cable customers away from satellite. They talked about the Cebridge deal and a new Cablevision deal and said more deals are in the works.