Monday, November 15, 2010

TIVO Slashes DVR Price

Black Friday is arriving early for consumers interested in owning a Tivo. "TiVo will hack $200 off the retail prices of its DVRs through the end of the year, hoping the hardware discounts of up to 66% will help it stanch the flow of subscriber losses." Good news for fans looking for a deal, but I don't believe it will move the needle much.

To me, the missing ingredient is the integration with the set top box. Currently, few MSOs offer this feature. "The Alviso, Calif.-based company has struck agreements with Comcast, Cox Communications, DirecTV, RCN, Suddenlink Communications, Virgin Media in the U.K. and other service providers to variously provide TiVo-based services, resell its DVRs or provide better integration with TiVos." And while Comcast is mentioned, I have yet to receive a promotion offering me to trade my DVR box for a Tivo. Comcast would rather sell their own DVR service. I wonder if other cable customers from the above list are even aware that they can get Tivo service from their cable company. Is Cox marketing the service actively? Is Suddenlink?

There may be a deal in place, but are there customers. Adding a Tivo box under the TV with a cable box, a gaming box, a DVD player, only creates a mess of too many boxes, too many remotes, too many wires, and no simplicity. Less is more and the cable companies should consider putting their technology into the next generation of Wii boxes, Playstations, and yes, Tivos. A stand alone set top box has lost its way in the war of boxes that control the TV. It is time for more partnerships.

My Space Not A Social Network

According to its CEO, Mike Jones, My Space is changing its strategy to focus itself as an entertainment portal and not as a social networking site. "Talking The Telegraph at the Monaco Media Forum, Jones said the bold statement: 'MySpace is a not a social network anymore. It is now a social entertainment destination.'” And so Facebook has killed another competitor. So long Bebo and now so long My Space.

And while the focus of this discussion is on England, the same holds true for the US. "Jones said new users would be of a younger demographic who want to 'meet new and old friends around great content'. The focus of the ‘new MySpace’ in the UK during the launch period of the redesign will be solely on music discovery, with other content focus areas, such as TV and film, to come later. However, the US MySpace revamp launched with movie, TV and celebrity content ‘hubs’ already in place. Jones is hoping higher quality content, will yield good advertising returns." Can My Space change in time or are they so locked into a perception that the perception of the brand is locked?

The one thing My Space has going for it is a powerful owner. With Fox behind them, My Space has the financial muscle to change directions. Competition in this entertainment arena is equally tough, but Fox has the content to help their brother in this on line race.