Tivo continues to struggle, even as they roll out a new, lower cost, high definition unit. For the legions of us stuck with boxes from our service providers (like the regrettably stupid Bell ExpressVu PVR), it's really too bad. My advice to Tivo management?
- Go platform. Tivo is a software play, not hardware. If you can get $10 per box, that's a pretty healthy OEM margin to start.
- Enlarge your markets. Just a few hours north you will find 30 million Canadians. We speak the same language as you, watch the same shows as you, and we buy the same products. Your advertising models will work well here. Cut a deal with Bell ExpressVu or Rogers Cable to get into their boxes.
- Most importantly, steal a page from Microsoft's book. Microsoft Office came to dominate the market for office applications because it offered more value at a lower price than any of their competitors. More importantly, it was tied to a cheap platform on every PC called Windows. You have a burgeoning business in advertising, but need to get the platform into people's homes. It's the same model. Sacrifice profits now to do that.
Good luck. And if you ever get Tivo on Expressvu, let me know. I am dying to ditch the entirely unsatisfying boat anchor ExpressVu has sold me.