Sod buying TiVo, are Apple going to launch their own PVR?
Think Secret ‘reveals’ today that Apple’s Mac mini will be reborn with an Intel processor and PVR-like functionality. Code named ‘Kaleidoscope’, the machine will be ready for roll out at Macworld Expo San Francisco in January.
The new ‘do it all’ Mac mini is also said to have a built-in iPod dock, a feature removed from the Mac mini Apple first introduced a year ago. According to the report, sources with knowledge of the project have called the PVR aspect a ‘TiVo Killer’.
TiVo is to mimick Google by offering consumers the chance to search for ads.
The Wall Street Journal reports today that TiVo Inc. is partnering with Interpublic, Omnicom and Publicis’s media buyers with a mind to target consumers who can skip ads using their TiVo DVR. Tom Rogers, TiVo’s president and chief executive says that they are “flipping the dynamic” of traditional tv advertising by allowing subscribers to search for ads that only match their interests. This copies the Google model of advertising where only ads relevant to a keyword search appear.
Starting next spring, TiVo users will be able to set up a profile of products on their television screens by clicking on categories such as automative or travel or by typing in keywords like ‘BMW’. TiVo will then regularly download relevant commercials to TiVo recorders over the Internet, or send the video via traditional broadcast signals. The commercials will appear on-screen in a folder next to the list of television shows TiVo viewers record. Advertisers will be able to select the keywords and categories with which they wish to be associated. One payment model being discussed is to let advertisers bid on keywords as they do when buying ads on Google.
It remains to be seen whether viewers will buy-in to this model of ‘advertising on demand’, particularly when a major part of TiVo’s charm has been to allow them to avoid advertising all together. Moreover, Google’s success lies in the subtlety of the advertising message – with many consumers failing to notice the difference between a paid-for search result and a normal one.
TiVo and Yahoo! join forces.
Yahoo! is a planning to offer its internet-based services through TiVo’s digital video recorders. Users of Yahoo!’s TV page will be able to click on a ‘record to TiVo’ button directly from a television program listing to remotely schedule recordings. Eventually, Yahoo!’s traffic and weather content, as well as its users’ photos, will be viewable on televisions via TiVo’s broadband service and easy-to-use screen menu.
TiVo subscribers can already remotely schedule recordings from the TiVo website but the new deal will give the PVR pioneer access to Yahoo!’s much larger user base and hopefully gain some desperately needed customers. TiVo currently has about 3.6 million subscribers in the US but it added fewer new customers in its last fiscal second quarter than it did the previous year. And even though the company posted its first profit in its eight year history during that quarter, some analysts are questioning whether TiVo can continue to grow in the face of competitive products from satellite and cable companies which offer lower subscription fees. There is also the looming shadows of viewing content online and do-it-all third generation games consoles which threaten to stall the PVR revolution before it’s even really begun.
Yahoo! meanwhile is seeing tremendous growth as people increasingly turn to the Internet for news, entertainment, communication and other services. But Yahoo! is also under pressure from rivals Google and Microsoft to expand its empire into other areas.
Full story from ABC News.
TiVo screengrab nicked from Engadget.
The beleaguered Digital Video Recorder company has launched a number of user-unfriendly iniatives lately. One blogger asks the question: how long before the company charges users to skip ads?
Techdirt reports that TiVo – increasingly in need of extra revenue streams – has experimented with pop up ads, interactive ads, updated old ads – anything to stem the losses incurred when those pesky users fast-forward through commercials. As well as these advertiser-centric follies, TiVo has started to fluff up its cutesy image by locking users into one year contracts and even forceably deleting shows from users’ boxes (when launched, the PVRs saved shows indefinitely). Far from being the consumers’ champion that it first appeared, TiVo has started to placate advertisers and broadcasters by handing power back to them – quietly of course. With additional rumours that TiVo has started to sell privileged information about its users’ viewing patterns to advertisers, TiVo’s jolly-little-telly logo is starting to look less and less friendly.
Posted in Need To Know
Tivo has signed deals with General Motors and WB Television Network to encourage people to watch more advertising. How? By offering it on demand.
Tivo has always looked at ways to exploit the behavioural information its PVRs glean from consumers. In the past it has signed deals with both media trackers Nielsen (back in 2000) and with Comcast. It has also trialled small click through corporate logos which remain on screen whilst consumers fast forward through the ad break. Now it has created new services enabling viewers to send their personal information directly to advertisers, choosing which products and services they are interested in.
Aping the kind of service already offered by some interactive ads, Tivo will also allow viewers to choose to watch a long-form version of certain TV commercials if they wish, by jumping from the traditional 30 second spot to one or two minute ads.
GM will be the first car manufacturer to use a new tagging system allowing viewers instant access to promotional footage and to request information on brands including Chevrolet and Saturn.
The WB Television Network – which makes hit TV shows such as ‘Charmed’ and ‘Smallville’ – will use the new technology to screen promotions for upcoming shows. The promotional ads will allow users to press the green ‘thumbs up’ button on the Tivo remote, to programme it to record a single episode or the full season of a show. This gives its shows the jump on others in the broadcast schedule.
David Courtney, TiVo’s chief financial officer and executive vice president, said the technology “presents a real opportunity for advertisers to enhance the effectiveness of traditional TV advertising.” It also applies what consumers have learnt from their PVRs – that they can have what media they want when they want it. TiVo’s initiatives have shown that this brave new media world can include advertising on demand as well.
The Detroit Free Press has the whole story.
“When Los Angeles architect Anthony Poon, 41, hears people in his office start to talk about the latest episode of The O.C. or American Idol, he tells them to pipe down. He likes to record the shows and watch them in a batch later on, and he doesn’t want anything spoiled”
Full report here.
Posted in Need To Know
Tagged PVR tivo
Could the company that owns the mp3 player market be about to go into PVRs?
There are rumours this week that Apple is about to make a bid for the original Personal Video Recorder (PVR/DVR) manufacturer TiVo
The financial markets seem to be taking the news seriously as TiVo shares increased by 17 percent
See article from computer review business online here
An open letter from Forrester analysts Josh Bernoff and Chris Charron pleading with Steve Jobs to Do the Decent Thing is here
The really interesting point is this:
The brands are compatible. Apple’s and TiVo’s customers both love their products–in our DVR survey last year, 19 percent of respondents used the word “love” to describe their DVRs, with TiVo users leading in satisfaction. Why? Because TiVo, like Apple, creates products with insanely great design.