Wednesday, December 12, 2007

A Theory of TiVolution, Darwinian moves in the kingdom of DVR

TiVo, the DVR box that evolved the VCR into the first form of a timeshifting product has been building out a network of content partners in an effort to diversify it's offering beyond TV.

Why? The Techdirt Insight Community has already been asked this year on Video Store 2.0 and the potential impacts of IPTV on the regular broadcasting providers. The reality is that TV scheduling and broadcasting is under disruption and niche vendors like TiVo need to soften the impact.

I'm glad to see that they're moving in the right direction with new partnership announcements in the content and importantly user/community generated content spaces. It's been a slow and steady approach to becoming a true media company.

Announced this week are partnerships with Music Choice giving TivoCast subscribers access to a store of music videos. Combines this with the rollout of the previously integration with Rhapsody and you get a learning device that can help you comb that music video store to match your taste. It's all about control.

In a further extension of their content sharing, Family Private Network, which initially saw a YouTube like service partnerships with Google's Picasa and Photobucket give you the ability to share your photo's with your community. This moves TiVo into an enabler of one dimension of Social Networking.

This week also saw tighter integration with Amazon's Unbox service. This deal has been in the making since February. This moves the dependency on the schedule to an alternative portal for buying your favorite show or film. On the back of the Kindle release this relationship also strengthens Amazon's role as a multi media content provider.

There has been lot's of comment generated from the ad service in lieu of fast forwarding through the broadcast version. The move into less TV dependent content should reduce the need, let's hope.

The other realization from TiVo, something Telco's could learn, is the intangible asset they have in the form of their user base. They have entered a deal with NBC to provide viewing statistics, so maybe their data is becoming useful to someone.

There are some features that I'd still like to see on the DVR box. On board WiFi, get rid of the USB dongle and further elevate this former DVR into the domain of multi media centers

Promising developments to show that some players are starting to get it.

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