TiVo’s relative nimbleness helped it win a deal with Mediacom Communications, beating out bigger competitors like Cisco Systems and Motorola Mobility.
The privately held operator picked TiVo to power nextgeneration multiroom DVR and multiscreen video services because the vendor has shown it can quickly — and cost-effectively — bring products to market, Mediacom chairman and CEO Rocco Commisso said.
“The evolution of IP-enabled video gateways, TiVo’s solution powered by the cloud and Mediacom’s robust video and broadband solutions open the door to the next generation of video entertainment,” Commisso said.
The deal is another feather in TiVo’s pay TV cap. Other partners include Charter Communications, DirecTV, Suddenlink Communications, RCN, Grande Communications, GCI and U.K. cable operator Virgin Media.
But most of TiVo’s MSO partnerships haven’t moved the needle yet. Virgin Media singlehandedly has accounted for the reversal in the DVR company’s net subscriber base into positive territory in the last 12 months, after the MSO surpassed 1 million TiVo users in July.
For Mediacom, the TiVo partnership with U.K.-based set-top maker Pace, a major supplier to the MSO, was key. “The big difference right now with TiVo is, they are working with one of our major suppliers, Pace, to integrate their service with our environment, including on-demand and interactivity, that will be available seamlessly to our customers,” Mediacom executive vice president of operations John Pascarelli said.
Mediacom, the eighth-largest cable operator in the U.S. with about 1 million video subscribers across 22 states, plans an initial deployment of TiVo-based boxes including the four-tuner Premiere Q in early 2013. The MSO will continue the rollout across its footprint over the course of the year.
The TiVo-based Pace XG1 sixtuner hybrid QAM/IP (quadrature amplitude modulation/Internet protocol) gateway is expected to be fully tested and ready by the second quarter of 2013. Mediacom’s other primary set-top vendor is Motorola. “Ultimately we would like to have Motorola port TiVo to their platform,” Pascarelli said.
Another attractive feature of TiVo’s solution is its ability to deliver IP video, Pascarelli said, and the Pace XG1 eventually is expected to include a transcoding capability to stream cable TV to any IP device in the home.
Mediacom is not replacing its existing guide, Rovi’s i-Guide, Pascarelli added. Rather, “we’re adding TiVo to our mix of products to give our customers choice.”
TiVo has won large settlements against pay TV operators in the past year, including Dish Network, AT&T and, most recently, Verizon Communications (see Platforms). TiVo currently has litigation pending against Time Warner Cable.
Pascarelli said the specter of patent litigation from TiVo was not a factor at all in Mediacom’s decision to work with the vendor. “We’re looking at the value the product brings,” he said, adding, “We’ve done DVRs for years and haven’t ever heard boo from TiVo” about patent licensing.
TiVo has struck another MSO deal, signing Mediacom, while most prior partnerships haven’t moved the needle on subscribership.