For the first time ever TiVo Loses Subscribers

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by Leo Valiant, Aug 31, 2007.

  1. Aug 31, 2007 #1 of 128
    Leo Valiant

    Leo Valiant Member

    Apr 19, 2000
    Fresno, CA


    "TiVo actually lost 145,000 customers in the quarter. More troubling is where it is losing paying subscribers: from those that have the standalone box, its most profitable segment. The decline was the first in the company's history."
  2. Aug 31, 2007 #2 of 128

    WizarDru New Member

    Jan 18, 2005
    Malvern, PA
    I think you'll see an upswing on the next report. The TiVo HD launched right at the end of the quarter, and I think you'll see some pretty significant sales towards the end of the year, now that TiVo has an affordable HD box and theoretically Comcast will start signing up users on their box.
  3. Aug 31, 2007 #3 of 128

    ZeoTiVo I can't explain

    Jan 2, 2004
    yep, TiVo speculated the loss was folks dropping series 2 to do HD with cable company DVR
  4. Aug 31, 2007 #4 of 128

    jlb Go Pats!

    Dec 13, 2001
    Burlington, VT
    And it is entirely possible that even with the drop in subscribers that they did not have a (total) revenue drop with the price increases and all......
  5. Aug 31, 2007 #5 of 128

    dkaz tv + tivo + laptop

    Aug 30, 2007


    Unfortunately, TiVO's original HD offering was priced out of most people's price range, which will now backfire given HD's growth.
  6. Aug 31, 2007 #6 of 128

    parzec Wizard of Oz

    Jun 21, 2002
    Charlotte, NC
    And perhaps this is also fallout from their ill-conceived price increase, service contracts and early termination fees.
  7. Aug 31, 2007 #7 of 128

    kmill14 New Member

    Dec 11, 2006
    It may have slowed down Tivo's growth, but I don't see it necessarily backfiring. If someone opted to get Comcast' HD DVR box instead, it will probably take them a month to realize how crappy it is. Any trip to avsforum or dslreports will reveal that. Since they are not locked into a contract, it will be easy enough for them to switch.
  8. Aug 31, 2007 #8 of 128

    generalpatton71 Open,Flash and clear

    Oct 30, 2002
    Don't fool yourself now. Tivo's price increases and contracts are causing tons of potential subscribers to choose something else. Tivo really needs to go back to no contracts and a reasonable price point. Tivo's biggest competition is D* IMHO. Tons of HR10 subscribers and plenty of S2 folks as well have left to D* for the HR20 and the new HD channels that are about to hit and we are locked into a contract. I'm not happy about it, but with SDV and a crappy local cable company for HD the Sat companies get my business.
  9. Aug 31, 2007 #9 of 128

    JJ TiVoPlantation Owner

    Jul 14, 2000
    Land of...
    Count me
    among them. Dumped DirecTV based on the HR20-700 and two DirecTiVo series2 boxes went away along with the broken HR10-250, three TiVo box subs gone this quarter. Only my 7+years young lifetimed Series1 still chugging and waiting for SDV and QAM tuning issues to be resolved before we jump to TiVoHD...
  10. Aug 31, 2007 #10 of 128

    jfh3 Active Member

    Apr 15, 2004
    Denver area
    Can't go back to no contracts unless you have absolutely no hardware subsidy on the boxes. Pretty sure I read that the actual cost to Tivo for the THD box is close to $300, so (at least for now), retail on the THD would have to be around $400+ to even consider that. Then you are dealing with an upfront cost that's too much for many.
  11. Aug 31, 2007 #11 of 128

    etemple New Member

    Oct 25, 2003
    Sparkle City
    I'm about ready to jump ship myself, despite having just dropped $50 on the wireless adapter. I switched to digital cable and now my box won't work. I've posted about iit in the help thread, but after 2 hours on the phone with the support techs, I'm no closer to a fix :( The third suport person's attitude didn't help matters, especially because she's the one who kept forgetting which box I have. Grrr.

    I can't afford HD right now, and even if I could afford the TV, there's no way I could afford the S3. It's all too expensive. The cable companies interface isn't nearly as good as tivo, but I bet it would work. And I would have to pay $17/mo.

    At least I don't have a service commitment right now. . .
  12. Sep 1, 2007 #12 of 128

    jeffspam Member

    Feb 27, 2001
    Dublin, OH
    I've been a subscriber off-and-on for 7+ years, first with a monthly S1 sub, and eventually the same sub with a refurbed S2. When the rates went up the first time, I canceled the sub after just a few months of the new rates. Yes, I'm still kicking myself for not doing the $299 lifetime sub way back when. Eventually, I ended up finding a couple of S2 units with lifetime subs for a good price, which is what I'm using these days.

    I'm now thinking about giving my father-in-law one of the lifetimes, and re-subbing my old, refurbed S2 as my 2nd unit, eventually upgrading to the new HD box. This time, I figured that with the MSD to drop the monthly price, paying $7/mo wouldn't be so bad. But once I went to and saw the current prices, I ran away screaming. The only way to get a reasonable rate is to sign up for a 3-yr contract -- and that's hardly a reasonable trade-off. Worse, to subscribe it at all, I'd have to commit to at least a year of service. What are you guys thinking? Is it any wonder that subs are down?

    Used S2's are all over the place, and these things are going to end up in the dump if Tivo can't figure out a way to reuse them again. I can understand that you don't want to lower the monthly price for new subscribers with new boxes, but let existing customers acquire these used Tivos and subscribe them CHEAP. It means additional revenue for Tivo with no new hardware subsidy costs. At $5/mo for existing customers with "BYOT" (bring-your-own-tivo), you'd get a ton of interest, and a whole new source of revenue from people who are less likely to need hand-holding, more likely to have broadband connections (avoiding dial-up costs), and it'd increase subscriber loyalty (give one to the kids; with KidZone, you won't be able to give it up so easy if you start talking about switch to a cable DVR).

    Thanks for reading my rant.
  13. Sep 1, 2007 #13 of 128

    EVizzle ^^MacGvyer^^

    Feb 13, 2005
    St. Paul, MN
    I bought a S2 with lifetime 3+ years ago because I hated monthly subscriptions. Soon after I got a cell phone, went to college, got a car payment, monthly bills and though I still hate monthly subscriptions, I have grown to accept paying for quality. When the S3 came out, I loved it but hated the price. I wanted to transfer my lifetime but still needed TivoToGo, so I waited and waited. The new pricing was frustrating, but the TC forums taught me about the multiservice discount and because I love tivo and hate comcast, I figured paying a little more would be worth it.

    As it turns out, my monthly bill is less with cablecards and a series 3 than it would be with a cable box and HDDVR through those fools that live to anger me. It came down to loyalty, quality, customer feedback, simplicity, interface and the least important factor being cost. I was willing to pay more, but it turns out I saved on my monthly bills. Just as I "overpaid" for my ipod when it was new and "overpaid" for my PS3, both of which have dropped in price, I will continue to overpay for brands and products that are worth it. It just so happens that there are less of those brands that I trust today than ever before, and Tivo tops the list. As long as there is a tivo subscription to have, I will always look there first.

    The same goes for Netflix, Canon cameras, Sony videogames, Apple, Panasonic, and until I have a bad experience, I have no need to change. Everything gets a little simpler when you need something new and you stick with a brand you trust. I never look at the charge from Tivo and think "where are they tricking me this month" as I have to do with Comcast, yet owning a Tivo box has kept me away from DTV.
  14. Sep 1, 2007 #14 of 128

    bicker bUU

    Nov 9, 2003
    You want to see a big drop in subscribers? Just have TiVo drop the ball with SDV. If word gets out about lots of TiVo owners having $800 or even $300 paperweights (which are really often $1100 and $600 paperweights, since many folks bought three year subscriptions in advance), then you'll see TiVo sales plummet, and you'll see people dropping TiVo subscriptions at the end of their contracts, in droves.
  15. Sep 1, 2007 #15 of 128

    magnus Tivo User

    Nov 12, 2004
    Well, just look on eBay and you will see why there is a decrease. All the time I see people selling and the reason they give is that the Cable Co. or SAT DVR is less expensive. They never really take into account that while their DVR fee is only 5.99.... that they are paying big bucks for content. Content that for the the most part they do not really watch.

    If you live in a big market (more channels in HD) then you can get OTA HD for free. Get a pair of rabbit ears and hook it up to your digital tuner.... you'll be suprised by the quality. Gone are the days of ghost images and grainy pictures on the old SD OTA.

    I personally think that Tivo should be working with the FCC to make Directv and Dish come up with some standard (cable card or whatever) so that Tivo can create a DVR like the S3 for satellite.

    Image in that..... -145,000 subscribers... that nothing..... the potential for subscribers with an alternative to Directv HR20..... now that would be sweet.
  16. Sep 1, 2007 #16 of 128

    acgaustin New Member

    Sep 1, 2007
    In all fairness, Tivo deserves to lose subscribers... they launched an incredibly expensive series 3 and then they treat those owners like outcasts.

    No tivo2go? no movie sharing? You are supposed to service your premier customers first.

    What reason is there for a series 2 owner to upgrade to a series 3? None, they will LOSE functionality by upgrading.

    Sounds like they are taking a lesson in marketing and customer relations from bill gates.
  17. Sep 1, 2007 #17 of 128
    Guy Kuo

    Guy Kuo New Member

    Feb 10, 1999
    Seattle, WA
    Long time user here. Added the Comcast DVR for HD when the only TiVo offering FELT too expensive to justify. For SD we continued to use a series 2 TiVo. On the Comcast HD PVR we missed the TiVo interface and reliability, but Microsoft foundation software was at least reasonably usable, just not well polished.

    Two factors brought us back

    1. The new TiVo HD is priced low enough that box + subscription + extra hard drive space was about $1000. That isn't cheap, but a lot better than what the series 3 was going to require.

    2. Comcast switched our region to iGuide and the user interface was so bad that my wife rated it enough of a problem to free "emergency" funding to fix the problem.

    So now we're blissfully using the TiVo HD and the old series 2 has a companion.
  18. Sep 1, 2007 #18 of 128

    classicsat Astute User

    Feb 18, 2004
    Ontario Canada.
    The lack of in house transfers on the S3 platform are not exactly their fault, it is Cablelabs that restricts Tivo's implementation of that feature, although Tivo could have released a conditional transfers earlier.

    As for upgrading to an HD-TiVo, well the answer is simply HD. Some would sooner have that with temporary lack of transfers with the TiVo interface, and possibility of transfers they are used to, rather than a suffer with a provider's DVR and less chance of networking features at all.
  19. Sep 1, 2007 #19 of 128
    Phantom Gremlin

    Phantom Gremlin Active Member

    Jun 20, 2002
    I'm not sure what you mean by "conditional transfers".

    But I'm tired of reading this apologia for TiVo's incompetence. Cablelabs does not, can not, restrict transfers of HD recorded OTA. And yet even that does not appear in S3, a full year after its release. Neither does "TiVo to come back" aka a way to upload content to the box.
  20. Sep 2, 2007 #20 of 128

    bicker bUU

    Nov 9, 2003
    Just playing devil's advocate for a second, and supporting Gremlin's point -- TiVo could have devoted more resources towards applying pressure on CableLabs to approve MRV.

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