Comcast to Charge $2.95 Extra for TiVo DVR Service


Comcast will charge subscribers $2.95 extra per month if they opt for TiVo-based digital video recorder service and the operator will “aggressively market” the service, TiVo president and CEO Tom Rogers said, in prepared remarks for the company’s quarterly earnings announcement Wednesday.

Rogers noted that Comcast has made TiVo-enabled DVRs available in “some non-employee subscriber homes” in the operator’s New England territory, and said that “full marketing efforts will begin shortly in the greater Boston area.”

“We are very excited by the emphasis that Comcast has placed on this product within its organization and their plans to aggressively market it at a $2.95 up-charge as well as through packaged bundles and win-back offers,” Rogers said. “Further, we are pleased with Comcast’s plans to promote and market the value of the TiVo experience, which will leverage many of their marketing assets including cross-channel TV.”

In the Boston area, Comcast’s regular pricing for a high-definition DVR (the model that supports the TiVo software) is $16.94 per month, meaning TiVo service would be $19.89. Comcast confirmed that it will add the $2.95 up-charge for TiVo service.

Rogers also provided some detail on TiVo’s broadband strategy. He said that in the past year TiVo subscribers have downloaded 12 million pieces of TiVoCast content over high-speed Internet connections. But he did not break out the number of downloads through TiVo’s deal with Amazon Unbox, which offers 15,000 titles available for download.

“Importantly, we are finding that TiVo’ broadband content offerings have strengthened our relationship with consumers as churn is significantly less for broadband-connected users,” Rogers said, in his prepared comments. However, TiVo’s the monthly churn rate for the quarter ended Oct. 31 was 1.3% compared with 1.0% in the year-ago period and 1.2% in the second quarter.

For the quarter, the DVR maker posted $75.5 million in revenue, up 14% compared with $66.0 million for the year-ago period. Net loss was $8.2 million, compared with a net loss of $11.1 million for the third quarter of 2006.

TiVo-owned subscription grew by a net 4,000 in the quarter, compared with 53,000 net additions for the year-ago period, with the company ending the quarter with 1.7 million direct subscribers.

TiVo saw a net decline in DirecTV TiVo subscriptions during the period, as DirecTV is no longer deploying new TiVo boxes. TiVo has combined its reporting of DirecTV subscribers with those it expects to land from cable operators, posting a net decline of 134,000 subscribers via “MSOs/Broadcasters” for the third quarter.