Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Tivo Says 'Charge' With Amazon

Tivo and Amazon are taking their partnership to the next level, enabling online users to instantly purchase from their TV set. It is the next step for interactive behavior and should be quickly embraced. It appeals to advertisers as it can move people from interest to purchase with simply the push of a button.

"TiVo has already been in business with Amazon since last year: It offers on-demand TV and movies to TiVo users from Amazon's Unbox store. Ultimately, TiVo says the "buy" feature will be available on TiVo-powered set-top boxes from cable partners like Comcast, as well as TiVo's own standalone DVRs."

And while Tivo's market share is still small, this added feature and benefit may encourage cable operators to make deals with Tivo to get a piece of the action. "Possible customers for its interactive ad technology include the cable and satellite companies and their consortiums, like Project Canoe, a joint effort by six cable operators to create a technology platform to sell customized and interactive ads."

Still, Tivo needs to do a better job to demonstrate why it is better than a cable dvr. To me, Tivo is the Mercedes of video recording, while the cable dvr is the VW. But if you have never experienced a Tivo, you may think the cable dvr is good enough. The challenge to Tivo is to get the consumer to experience the difference and push its appeal, like Apple so successfully has done with its iPhone and iPod.

Tivo is much more user-friendly than the cable dvr, designed to work as a user would expect a recording device to perform. It enables access across the video in 15 minute bites, allowing easier navigation inside the show. It records recommendations and has an easier search feature. And I find it doesn't have the latency issues that the dvr frequently exhibits. Gaining a bigger footprint across additional cable companies should be the win that takes Tivo to the next level; working with Project Canoe may be the impetus to make the other cable operators want to join the Tivo bandwagon.