Comcast's $24M (and Counting) TiVo Project


Comcast in the first nine months of 2007 paid TiVo $8 million to port the DVR maker’s software to Motorola HD set-top boxes, according to TiVo’s latest quarterly SEC filing.

That brings the operator’s TiVo tab to date spent more than $24 million, including the $16.1 million it spent through Jan. 31, 2007. 

Note that Comcast also intends to bring the TiVo code to Scientific Atlanta set-tops as well, so the cabler isn’t done spending on this project — which TiVo CEO Tom Rogers has acknowledged was more difficult than the parties originally anticipated when they inked their deal in March 2005.

So, $8 million over the first three quarters of 2007 is a rounding error for Comcast, which had $8.9 billion in operating cash flow over that time period.

The real question is: How effective will its TiVo investment be as a customer-retention and/or -acquisition tool for Comcast? The operator lost 65,000 basic customers in the third quarter. 

TiVo-enabled boxes, even at the supposedly "aggressive" upcharge of $2.95 above the regular HD DVR fee, won’t turn the tide. But for Comcast, every little bit of differentiation between satellite and telco will help, assuming its TiVo service can deliver the goods.