New "zero upfront" pricing costs effect on warranty

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by jfh3, Mar 8, 2006.

  1. bud8man

    bud8man Tivo Evangelist

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    Feb 12, 2004
    Oakland, NJ

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    So no multi user discounts? What happens when my 140 hr unit sub is up? I bought a unit with almost 2 years of service at $6.95 a month.
    What kind of options do I have?
    Start a new unit and choose how long I want service on it?
    Makes going for the 80 hr unit with my 25K points useless huh?
    Mini iPod here I come....
     
  2. TiVoStephen

    TiVoStephen formerly TiVoOpsMgr

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    Jun 27, 2000
    Alviso, CA, USA
    Indeed -- check the carton for the product label and description. The SKUs for factory renewed units is different.

    For example, a brand new 80 hour standalone DVR is known by SKU R54080 (or model R540080). A factory renewed version would be R5408B (or model R54008B).

    Usually, though, they have plain brown cardboard cartons, so they're hard to confuse.

    Best regards,
    Stephen
     
  3. mattack

    mattack Well-Known Member

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    sunnyvale
    You walked right into this one..

    It's about choice -- except for the choice NOT to pay monthly.

    Raise the lifetime fee, fine. But at least give it as an option.

    Heck, I admit that the lifetime price raise from $200 to $250 (which I admit I *missed*, and thus paid the higher rate) was what got me into gear to actually buy a Tivo.

    But not offering lifetime is really putting the brakes on my ideas of buying more Tivos. I am a VERY big fan of Tivo. There are tons and tons of things I wish it had too (e.g. why I bought a non-Tivo hard drive/DVD recorder to use along with my Tivos) that it doesn't.. But for what it DOES do, it does great.. But I will really have to weigh the pricing options when S3 comes out. Even something like $1K including lifetime would not be completely outrageous. Not having lifetime at all is.

    (Though I've actually thought lifetime would go away for a long time. IMHO, it really was only to compete with ReplayTV in the first place.)

    Another analogy is free drink refills. I'm much more likely to buy a drink at a place that has free drink refills, even if the price ends up the same as what it would have been if I paid individually. But I _never_ buy another drink where I pay per glass.. (and lately drink water instead) I want the option of knowing how much I'm going to pay when I buy the unit, even if it seems like a lot.
     
  4. TiVoStephen

    TiVoStephen formerly TiVoOpsMgr

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    Huh? We did not raise the monthly fee (the first and only time we did that was 2002, when it went from $9.95 to $12.95). Service-only monthly pricing is still only $12.95 per month. The 1-year commitment was introduced last year.
     
  5. MickeS

    MickeS Well-Known Member

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    What I meant was that I thought TiVo would stick to the $12.95 fee even if boxes were given away for free. I just figured that the commitment period for new boxes would be extended to 2 or 3 years.

    I didn't know that the 1-year commitment applied to all subscriptions, whether they are brand new or not. IMO, that's pretty much the only thing that separates the new pricing model from the cell phone model. TiVo even managed to emulate the pre-paid options. :)
     
  6. TiVoStephen

    TiVoStephen formerly TiVoOpsMgr

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    Not true -- see the other thread, but:

    (a) Existing MSD subscriptions are unaffected.
    (b) You can still activate monthly service-only for $6.95 if you have an existing full-priced contract.
    (c) The new bundle options and prepaid service-only options are not eligible for MSD, but they are full-priced so they do qualify any other monthly service-only contracts to automatically switch from $12.95 to $6.95.

    It will stay at $6.95 indefinitely, assuming you still have a different full-price unit (such as a product lifetime unit) on your account.
    No need.
    Not at all! When it arrives, activate it monthly for $6.95 per month (again, assuming you have a different full-priced unit on your account).
     
  7. TiVoStephen

    TiVoStephen formerly TiVoOpsMgr

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    Yes, except that we no longer (financially-speaking) have the choice to offer Lifetime at a price consumers would find reasonable.
     
  8. TiVoStephen

    TiVoStephen formerly TiVoOpsMgr

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    Ah, MickeS, now I see what you were saying.
    Yes, except that existing monthly subscriptions that don't have a commitment period still don't have a commitment period for as long as the contract is not canceled. They're grandfathered.
     
  9. TiVoStephen

    TiVoStephen formerly TiVoOpsMgr

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    Alviso, CA, USA
    I think there were some emoticons and possibly some sarcasm here, but I just wanted to say that this isn't correct, you'll pay the monthly equivalent of the prepay tier you chose:
    * $16.95/month or $469 prepaid with 3-year commitment
    * $18.95/month or $369 prepaid with 2-year commitment
    * $19.95/month or $224 prepaid with 1-year commitment
    So, if you prepay $224, then after 12 months you will be billed $19.95 per month until you call us a choose a new service-only option.
     
  10. megazone

    megazone Hardcore TiVo Geek

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    Looking at the trending on the pricing, sell a box with lifetime for $549-$599. That's the range a 4-year deal would fall in, and the expected service life has always been considered 4 years in the past. A lot of people paid MORE than $599 for a TiVo and lifetime, in years past. Offer lifetime alone for $499 or something like that - I bet a lot of people would still bite. (I would.)
     
  11. HDTiVo

    HDTiVo Not so Senior Member

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    Actually, it was "true" as of the time I posted it with those emoticons based on what had been said to that point by you. OOOPPS :)

    I have a real bad taste in my mouth about the concept that someone has to remember to call TiVo to drop their price by as much as $7/mo.
     
  12. segaily

    segaily Member

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    I suspect that TiVo has realized that lifetime on the box means pretty much forever theses days. Most parts on a TiVo can be replaced.

    I further suspect that they can not risk offering the advanced internet features they want to on the series 3 without knowing they can meet those costs going forward.

    If advanced internet features are given as part of the base cost then at some point lifetime boxes start to cost TiVo real money. We are no longer just talking about guide data that does not have that much extra cost per user. If 5 years from now some vender TiVo works with for an internet service raises the price to TiVo they can raise the price for the service. If to many people have lifetime at that point TiVo would be in real trouble.

    I hate the fact that lifetime is going away. I have 2 boxes both with lifetime. I suspect however that the only way they could take the risk of continuing to offer lifetime would be to offer it at a price that no one would want it at. At that kind of price you might get more bad press on the price then you would on having it go away.
     
  13. segaily

    segaily Member

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    Aug 2, 2003
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    I have to agree that not dropping the price without a phone call seams pretty sleazy to me.
     
  14. HDTiVo

    HDTiVo Not so Senior Member

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    TiVo more and more will be getting revenue beyond the subscription. So a lifetime sub doesn't mean zero revenue. Is there risk, sure, but that's business and their old model was good enough.

    See what you think after reading this... http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/showthread.php?t=290594
     
  15. BigJimOutlaw

    BigJimOutlaw Well-Known Member

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    I can't quite wrap my hands around this one. The cell phone model is not exactly a paragon of virtue.

    Any costs above the $12.95 service fee is going to be considered to be "going towards the hardware" whether that was intended or not. I know you haven't announced replacement pricing yet, but I would feel better to know that the purchase is adequately protected during the commitment. At least, any cost paid towards hardware up to the point of death be credited against the cost of the replacement. Anything else feels like double-dipping.
     
  16. ducker

    ducker New Member

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    Feb 21, 2006
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    What exactly would be the difference between paying $19.95 a month and a new "service-only" option aside from $7.00???
    Why would you want to go on the 2 or 3 year plans???
     
  17. TerpBE

    TerpBE Go Terps!

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    That's EXACTLY what I was going to post. It's almost like if you had your monthly car payment automatically deducted from your bank account, and then had to call once it was paid off or else it would keep being taken out.
     
  18. tstout

    tstout New Member

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    Jul 16, 2003
    NJ/NYC Metro

    AGREED!

    I understand the loss of lifetime service plans. Obviously Tivo assumed that their boxes wouldn't be lasting as long as they do or they wouldn't have priced it as low as it was. $299 is reasonable for a box that dies after 3 years, but not for one that's still going strong after 5 or 6.

    --

    Personally, I'd like to see the following modifications/clarifications about the new pricing model:

    1) AUTOMATICALLY convert contracts to the current monthly service-only price when the contract term is up. [If you don't do this you're just taking advantage of customers who don't know any better -- SHAME ON YOU! Yes, cell phone companies do this stuff all the time, but phone companies are evil and your customers have always considered Tivo one of the good guys. Good guys don't do crap like that.]

    2) Offer pre-paid SERVICE ONLY contracts for 1, 2, and 3 year terms to replace the lost lifetime service. This way people who don't want another montlhy bill have that option even after their contract term has expired. You've already made the money on the box back during the initial contract term. The renewal contact should be less expensive; otherwise why shouldn't I just throw away the box and get a new one? Remember, profit is good, greed is bad; it's a fine line between the two.

    3) Offer a Tivo trade-up plan whereby users can get a new box at the end of their current contact; that's essentially what you're doing now with the current plan, with renewals the same price as the initial contract. You should take what's currently a unattractive quirk in your pricing model and make it into a feature. BTW -- How does the priving model change for different model/series Tivos? Are you going to handle the series 3 with an up-front "step-up" fee or will the entire pricing scale be modified?

    4) Replacement costs on a dead tivo within the original contact term should be free, but I'd settle for minimal (in the $20-25 range, not the $100-150 range i.e. cost of shipping & handling, not the cost of a new box).

    5) The lack of any multi-room discounts is very discouraging and a big slap in the face to your best customers and most vocal advocates. There should at least still be some discount in the serivce-only options (can't really do that for new purchases, but once the initial term is up or if the user buys the equipment upfront, there should be some discount). It doesn't have to be a lot, but there should be a bone there somewhere.

    EDIT -- My mistake. Looks like service-only monthly pricing is still subject to the discount. Not clear on whether this applies to boxes that have fulfilled their initial contract or just those that are purchased upfront, however -- I guess it will be clear soon enough. (Hopefully both).

    Otherwise, the new pricing plans really don't seem that different from the old one over the long term (36-72 months) -- ignoring upfront hardware rebates and lifetime subscriptions (which really were a really bad business decision, but great for us consumers), total acquisition costs are comparable and 3-year prepaid is actually quite a bargain.
     
  19. userbr

    userbr New Member

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    Mar 8, 2006

    This is the missing link in Tivo's new pricing model!!! I'd bite too! Well said!
     
  20. MickeS

    MickeS Well-Known Member

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    A lifetime box with total cost (hardware + lifetime) of $599 would seem to make sense to offer.

    But then people would ***** that they just doubled the lifetime cost. :)

    I would at least hope they would OFFER it - no harm done if nobody bites, IMO. But I really understand why they want to get rid of it.

    Once again, they seem to have taken the model from cell phone industry whole sale - I think that's how they work too. You pay for the plan you signed up for, even if they come up with less expensive plans with the same terms, until you call them and tell them you want to change.
     

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