Thursday, January 25, 2007

What will happen to TiVo?

When people find out that I worked at TiVo for 6 years, I seem to always get the same question. It goes like this: "Now that DVR has been comodotized by Microsoft, Comcast, Echostar, DirecTV and others, how will TiVo survive and even thrive?"

Since before I left, my answer has been the same, but I've gotten better at delivering it. And, Forrester has re-inforced my thinking with a study they published early last year: Brand_Report In this report, they show that TiVo is one of the strongest brands in the PC and Consumer Electronics business, and (with Apple) has managed to see their brand score rise in recent years.

So, my answer is this: "Embrace their brand strength and monetize it. Stop raising DVR prices to monetize a service for people that can afford an over-priced piece of dedicated hardware in a continuously shrinking market. Take a variety of ODM designs from China/Taiwan/Korea and use their product and usability design mojo to build some great products under the TiVo brand.

In a way, they did this with their 802.11G network adapter. It's a very cool design that has some really unique functionality. And, it works great.

Do the same thing for a TV, a DVD player, a portable media player, whatever. And, don't try to jam a DVR into it. Just keep doing what made you successful in the first place. Make great products with great design, great documentation, back it up with great customer support and charge a slight premium. Go ahead, you've got the brand. You can do it.

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