After four years of declines, TiVo adds new customers

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TiVo has spent the last several years losing subscribers, dropping to mid-2000s customer levels in the second quarter of this year. But the DVR maker might finally be showing some positive momentum, reporting 117,000 net new customers in its third-quarter earnings report.

Those new customers are the result of growth in TiVo’s partnerships with pay-TV operators, spurred by the addition of partners like Virgin Media and RCN. And that strategy — based around getting cable companies to offer TiVo DVRs to their customers rather than the set-top boxes they’ve been using — could help the company grow even more over the next few quarters. In addition to its existing partnerships, TiVo will see some promotion from DirecTV soon, and Comcast is integrating its video-on-demand service to work with TiVo DVRs┬áconsumers can buy themselves. The company says its partnerships give it a potential footprint of 10 million homes between them, compared to the 2 million subscribers it currently has.

TiVo is getting traction by promoting its DVRs as a way for cable and satellite companies to provide additional value to their subscribers. Its devices integrate linear TV services with VOD and broadband streaming video offerings, and TiVo boxes can provide more personalization than traditional set-top boxes. It also offers a better search and navigation interface that includes the ability to browse movies and TV shows based on cast and crew information, along with other features. Offering TiVo boxes is one way those cable and satellite operators can avoid investing in their own pricey custom user interfaces.

The company reported service and technology revenues of $51.8 million, which were up 25 percent year-over-year and above its guidance of $49 million to $51 million. That said, its net loss widened to $24.5 million, which is up from a loss of $20.6 million in the year-ago period but lower than its forecast of a $27 million to $29 million loss.

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