Strategic Positioning – In Front of Your …

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Nobody wants to watch TV on their PC. Its not TV until its on TV.

You’ve heard those statements plenty in recent months in reference to the belief that the PC viewing experience is inadequate and people really want to watch TV on their TVs – fancy or not.

So why are so many people watching things on their PCs? Well, the fact is people are in front of their PCs quite a bit these days. Once you are already in front of the computer, watching something is not that big a stretch.

Another reason is the robbing the bank reason…that’s where the content is. Much of what people are watching via DOD is only available on a PC.

I want to extend the already in front of it concept a bit. People are already in front of their TVs quite a bit already as well.  So DOD content to the TV is a logical winner as well. But who has the strategic advantage?

Xbox has downloads, even in HD. There are other choices now and coming on stream. But, you really are not in front of your xbox that much. Sure you play it alot, but watching TV on it involves actively switching from a video source to the xbox and then going into the video mode, which is not your primary use of the xbox and not an ingrained habit at this point.

I would argue that at this point only one choice really has its people in front of it quite a bit. That’s TiVo. When you watch TV, if you have a TiVo, you are always in front of your TiVo. TiVo’s primary use is watching TV; its a habit – even an addiction – for its users.

This is a physical/ergonomic type argument for strategic advantage. It is limited, because so many other factors go into whether TiVo actually translates this advantage into a real business advantage. Thus far TiVo has done a horrendous job, putting itself at strategic disadvantages in most other aspects of this battle for the DOD business (and the rest of its “business.”)

A new CEO, sweeping clean much of the organization, with a proper strategic vision for grabbing the opportunity could transform TiVo from a dwindling presence into a vibrant grower. Will the Board take action? It is a shame to see TiVo throw away its potential.

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3 Responses to “Strategic Positioning – In Front of Your …”

  1. HDTiVo Says:

    I made a comment at Zatz Not Funny related to free DOD being the wave of the future. The foreseeable cost structure is impressive for that model.

    The article sites a blog which reports on the market (pricing) for content delivery .

  2. MickeS Says:

    One thing I was thinking about when you brought up the “already in front of it” angle, is that TiVo is still doing a poor job of properly organizing the downloads and other non-recorded content (music, PC downloads, pictures, games and so on).

    Many people still seem to use the live guide to select recordings from. Many people seem to only use the “Now Playing” list and live TV/guide. Even those that don’t, most often seem to use the basic search function or wishlists to get programs.

    Now, with the “Swivel search” they have tried to include all available content in the search, in order to get more people to use the non-recorded content functionality more. But the “Swivel search” is still in a spot where many people don’t even normally go.

    If TiVo really want to be successful with these new media ventures, they will have to start treating them as equals to the recorded content, or people will simply not use them enough. For a software developer, it might seem like “Well, it’s only 2 clicks away”, but if those two clicks would require people to do something completely different than what they normally do, it might as well be 10 clicks.

    The “Unbox Downloads” for example, NEED to be available from the main menu – there’s no way around it. I don’t know how that will fit into it, but somehow it needs to be done. Users need to see it EVERY TIME they go through the main menu, or it will be lost. I know – I use Unbox and I still think of it as a secondary feature and a chore to do, because it’s treated as a redheaded stepchild as far as the UI goes.

    This is the same way cable companies treats (or used to at least, I heard they’ve gotten better) the DVR functionality – they just tacked it onto a cable box interface and hoped people would be OK with it. TiVo needs to make a real commitment to the new media, or they will lose out to those who design their boxes from the ground up to include it.

  3. HDTiVo Says:

    One of the things I did in my life was owning and managing real estate. For one thing, I had some retail space in NYC. I knew that the rents on the north side of the street were 70% higher than on the south side. I understand the N clicks away issue in a way I am sure few technical people would.

    My view is that the solution is to have the internet content fully integrated into the DVR interface such that there is no difference between internet content and broadcast content; internet content is merely another “channel.”

    Fortunately and unfortunately TiVo has not done this. Unfortunately, because it won’t be nearly as successful as it could be unless its done that way. Fortunately, because I have long lived in fear of the people at TiVo touching the DVR part of the interface. Those fears have exploded into reality with this 9.1 horror of an update. TiVo simply doesn’t have what it takes to do the job.

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