US Viewers Tune into TiVo

24 November 2004

The US's pioneering digital video service TiVo has reported a third quarter increase in new subscriber numbers as the company prepares for the crucial Thanksgiving and Christmas period.

TiVo, whose set-top box with built-in hard drive allows viewers to skip commercials as they record and playback programs simultaneously, says it finished Q3 with 2.3 million subscribers, a rise of around 419,000.

However, and most telling for the company, despite an aggressive advertising and marketing campaign only a quarter of those new viewers bought their boxes in local stores and now pay their $13 (€10, £7) a month direct to TiVo. The rest access the service through Rupert Murdoch's DirecTV, from which TiVo only generates about $1.30 per customer.

As a result, the company's net loss deepened in the quarter to nearly $26 million, compared with $7.4 million net loss in the same period last year. Revenue slipped to $38.3 million, down from $43.3m.

Despite the lacklustre financial figures ceo Michael Ramsey says TiVo's state-of-the-art features will keep it ahead of cable operators who are only beginning to offer more basic DVRs.

Data sourced from USA Today Online; additional content by WARC staff