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TiVO Spins

Posted on Thursday, May 25th 2006

More of the same is not the answer, but TIVO seems to think it is. WSJ reports: TiVo, which has consistently lost money, continues to spend aggressively to find subscribers for its DVR products and service, as large cable and satellite television companies compete with their own low-cost DVR offerings. Earlier this year, TiVo began offering its DVR device free to customers who commit to between one- and three-year service plans, with a monthly subscription of $16.95 to $19.95.

Nowehere is the “spinning” more apparent than a recently issued job search for a new Chief Marketing Officer (CMO):

« Proven Performance in a Consumer Subscription Business The ideal candidate will have a proven track record of delivering results as a decisive, action-oriented marketing executive who has led high growth consumer subscription or similar services business. This will be evidenced by brand building metrics, subscriber growth, reduction in cost-per-acquisition, reduction in churn and successful new product introductions. Monthly subscription service experience, online & offline marketing experience and experience forecasting and managing to aggressive subscriber acquisition and retention goals is essential.

‘« Demonstrated Success in Growing Market Presence: The ideal candidate will have demonstrated an ability to marshal market and competitive analysis, immediate customer feedback, and competitive analysis to deliver creative product launch, demand generation programs, and ¡’Guerilla¡¿ and ¡’self-funding¡¿ tactical marketing (e.g. events and alternative media.) to impact subscriber growth and retention.

‘« Creative Marketing Strategy and Execution: The ideal candidate has previously been in a significant line-marketing role, overseeing a sizable marketing budget. The individual will have experience with disciplines of marketing such as product positioning, pricing, advertising/media, promotion, distribution, etc. This executive will have demonstrated his or her ability to assess market dynamics and quickly course-correct when necessary. A track record of superior execution is a must. This executive will have demonstrated the ability to innovate new approaches to address the challenges that face consumer electronics retailers such as customer education, sales training, salespeople turnover and increasing competition.

‘« Passion for Brand and Customer Experience: As shown by the ability to develop a vision, to become a credible evangelizer of this message and to communicate it in a compelling way. This will be shown by the ability to grasp the needs of both the consumer and the retailer, to translate those needs into action and to motivate the organization into the implementation phase. He/She should be a credible evangelizer of the consumer message and communicate his/her vision in a compelling way.

This indicates, they are staying with the same business model. I would argue that the business model of TiVO needs to change fundamentally. Long time back, Steve Jobs had to can his beautifully designed and branded NeXT Computer in favor of a software ONLY strategy. TiVO should look into that as a case study, and get out of the commodity hardware category, especially one in which prices drop rapidly, as competition increases.

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