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Lifetime Service Resurrected

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by davezatz, May 15, 2008.

  1. ah30k

    ah30k Active Member

    Jan 8, 2006
    Which suggestions were they again? I don't seem to recall any that would include increasing revenue and/or cutting costs. Maybe I'm just forgetful.

    Let's see what I can remember... People don't like ads on their screen, they don't like paying more per month, they don't like commitments, they do like lifetime but only if it is cheap, they want old lifetimes to transfer to new units for free, they want more feature development for the S1 to handle digital tuners and more development for the S2 and S3, they want an S4 like yesterday (for less than the S3 was launched at)...
  2. makeinu

    makeinu New Member

    Nov 23, 2006
    I believe that the context was fixed relative to monthly usage. The fact that the cost of the software does not vary with each unit is a reason why it shouldn't be included in the price of each unit, not a reason why it should be.

    The cost of developing software and keeping it up to date increases with each month of usage, hence being included in the monthly fee, rather than the initial fee of the unit.

    Following this logic to it's end you're basically saying that the Tivo experience should be priced at:
    1. A one time fee to purchase the box.
    2. A single monthly subscription per configuration to pay for the guide data, software development, etc for that particular configuration. Identical configurations should be free because they only require duplicate guide data, software, etc. For example, whereas a TivoHD needs different software than a Series 2 and two Series 2s in two different households may each require different software to be compatible with the cable box, local programming, etc, two Series 2s recording the same service in the same house can use the same software and the same guide data.

    The only thing that Tivo is doing right now that doesn't meet this specification is that the multiservice pricing isn't free when running duplicate units in identical setups.

    I agree, but how many people really have more than one of the exact same unit being used with the exact same cable box, etc, etc? I know I don't, which is why I personally don't have a problem with the philosophy of Tivo's pricing structure. If I did I'd probably stop purchasing from Tivo.
  3. ah30k

    ah30k Active Member

    Jan 8, 2006
    Uh, makeinu, where is the shareholder return on investment captured in your pricing model?
  4. makeinu

    makeinu New Member

    Nov 23, 2006
    Add percent markup to taste and serve.

    Profit is, obviously, necessary for any business, but not making it discreet only generates bad will from the customers. Percent markup is the most discreet way to profit.
  5. ah30k

    ah30k Active Member

    Jan 8, 2006
    Ah, therein lies the rub. I imagine the taste of the shareholders will be different from the taste of this forum membership. Since much of this discussion is about the price of the service I imagine that would be an important variable.
  6. tivoupgrade

    tivoupgrade Sponsor

    Sep 27, 2000
    Chicago, IL...
    Do you think that those of us who are supportive of TiVo's current strategy are following some sort of script? We support it and are capable of verbalizing that. Whether we are right or not may be another question, but an opinion is an opinion.

    I have been following TiVo since 1999, and have also been a stock holder for quite some time. I also happen to think TiVo has significantly improved their offerings and their financial position in the past several years.

    Admittedly, I have not recently read an annual or quarterly report, however the last time I checked, the margin of their losses has decreased and the investment community seems to be supportive of the direction of the company; their current stock price also reflects this.

    I have always felt that TiVo faced a particular challenge with their attempts to execute a 'differentiated product strategy' as their market became commodity. This was the same challenge that SGI faced in the mid-90's and they failed at it - and some of that DNA was definitely brought into TiVo's genetics when they were founded.

    Even today, especially with the economic climate being what it is, it appears to be a challenge to command that value with their current value - I can tell you that is true based upon the number of people I know, even friends, who just stick with their generic DVR's vs using TiVo.

    Personally, I don't think lowering their prices and giving people "more for less" will allow them to be viable; they would not be able to sustain the R&D effort and would not increase their volumes sufficiently by watering down their offerings, they just don't have the reach.

    Beyond that, the jury is out, from my perspective. I am just glad that it appears they can now financially justify offering the lifetime subscription option again, it was not viable for quite some time, and it now appears to be viable. Perhaps there will be more good surprises around the corner.
  7. makeinu

    makeinu New Member

    Nov 23, 2006
    Yes, but I imagine the forum membership would be happier to conclude that the product is overpriced than unfairly/deceptively priced.
  8. atmuscarella

    atmuscarella Well-Known Member

    Oct 11, 2005
    Rochester NY
    Just for the record I have no connection to TiVo in anyway - I have owned TiVo stock in the past and made money doing so, but do not currently own any. My problem maybe I just don't see TiVo costing that much for what I get. My DVRs cost me the following:

    Dish 510 (not a TiVo):................$120 plus $6/mo for service
    Humax Series 2 TiVo:..................Free after rebate plus $300 for lifetime service
    TiVo Series 2:............................Free after rebate plus $7/mo for service
    TiVo HD with wireless adapter:......$200 plus $300 for lifetime service

    All the DVRs where purchased new and were/are well worth their cost to me. I have to time shift 100% of what I watch due to my work schedule plus I am not sure I could ever stand watching live TV again.

  9. kmill14

    kmill14 New Member

    Dec 11, 2006
    For what its worth, TiVo most likely lumps their cost for guide data (amongst some other items I suppose) into a line called "Cost of Service Revenues". Without reading their 10Q report, I am 90% certain that is where they would put it. That Cost of Service Revenues figure runs at about $43mil this past year, and at an average of 4.1million subscribers (that they count) that is less than $11 a year per subscriber for TiVo's ongoing cost of running that box.
  10. jk5598224

    jk5598224 New Member

    Jan 28, 2003
    Bay Area, CA
    I am to understand correctly that Lifetime for a second unit is now 299.00? I bought a HDTivo in December and payed 399.00 Lifetime, and so now it is $299.00?? Can I get a credit at all?
  11. wblynch

    wblynch New Member

    Aug 13, 2003
    Bringing back lifetime subs and lowering the cost for additional units per account to $299 is a great thing.

    Some things I have seen mentioned...
    • Multiple Tivos in one home could share guide data from the master Tivo
    • Tivo LITE - guide/season pass only, no doodads
    • Give owners control to adjust their UI (colors/fonts...)

    These are simple ways Tivo could lower their costs and improve the customer experience.

    R&D money is wasted on features that have limited appeal. If they provide additional revenue streams (Amazon Unbox or Advertisements) then they should be vendor funded and not passed onto the customer base.

    I wish I could turn off all the "extras".

    I have no information on Scientific Atlantic or Motorola or other DVR manufacturers but it doesn't seem like they're losing money.
  12. Phantom Gremlin

    Phantom Gremlin New Member

    Jun 20, 2002
    Yes, I'm still complaining. I'm complaining because of the way the arguments are being framed here. I feel that a Dr. Phil quote is in order: "Don't piss on my head and tell me it's raining."

    I keep providing the venture capital because TiVo is still the best solution to my needs. If I could get access to content encrypted by cablecards by using a program like Myth TV, I'd switch in a flash.
  13. desiboy

    desiboy New Member

    Oct 3, 2007
    Straight out off TiVo's 1Q Transcript...

    "...Additionally, as many of you know, over the last six months we have been offering to our sub base a product lifetime option with some success. Because of this we have made the decision to re-introduce the option for all potential customers. We recognize that there are some customers that like the idea of paying for service up front and we like the concept of up-front cash with lower churn risk. Currently we are offering product lifetime at $399 for new customers and at $299 for our current pays. As we have indicated before, TiVo HD is priced in a way that involves a far smaller subsidy of hardware giving us greater flexibility in our service pricing strategies...."
  14. ZeoTiVo

    ZeoTiVo I can't explain

    Jan 2, 2004
    so staying at the forefront and in some ways leading the move to cable cards and legit content downloads is wasted R&D but somehow TiVo is still the best solution. Seems like someone is calling lemonade piss-water to me.
  15. brettatk

    brettatk Thread Killer

    Oct 11, 2002
    Smyrna, GA
    Yes. Yes. No.
  16. fallingwater

    fallingwater New Member

    Dec 28, 2007
    Bellingham WA
    And why would anyone believe anything else?

    It's amazing how much smarter some TiVo Forum posters (not atmuscarella) believe they are compared with TiVo's management! :p
  17. classicsat

    classicsat Astute User

    Feb 18, 2004
    Ontario Canada.
    If they can license the guide data that way.
    Tivo doesn't want to do that. They rely on the core DVR functionality be pay, as part of their business model. They would need a major investor or partnership to infuse funding to change that.

    Offering a "lite" service might not make them much money for the expense.
    That will cost them R&D money for no gain.
    I just stay out of the HMO/HME menu. I need nothing there. Some probably pay to be there, or at least TiVo has some sort of placement deal.
    Their costs are basically subsidized by subscription to the cable service.
  18. hunter69

    hunter69 New Member

    Feb 9, 2002
    Tivo made the mistake of producing a quality product. If they had made a product that failed after 3 or 4 years, the lifetime plan would work out for everyone. They keep income rolling in the door, and the people that want to not have monthly fees can pay a lump sum.

    With 5 lifetime subs ranging from a S1 to a HD, I am grateful that they did make the wrong decision to create something durable, and allow user repairs in the case of most failures.
  19. petew

    petew Active Member

    Jul 31, 2003
    San Jose, CA
    Rather than Tivo LITE I'd like to see the old S2's resused as a Tivo MRV Client, I'd willing pay $50-$100 to convert a paid up S2 into a view only box. No Guide Data, No season Passes, Just the ability to view shows xfered from other subscribed boxes on the account with no monthly fee. A daily service call wouldn't be necessary and the only guide data would be that xfered with the recording so there shouldn't be any ongoing cost to Tivo.
  20. NotVeryWitty

    NotVeryWitty Too Big to Fail

    Oct 3, 2003
    Central Mass.
    This is a great idea. Sign me up! :up::up::up:

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