Redbox Taps TiVo for Recommendation Engine

Redbox has engaged TiVo Corp.’s Personalized Content Discovery platform, including search, recommendations and insights, to engage new customers, increase retention and enhance loyalty across Redbox.com, Redbox On Demand and physical boxes nationwide, according to TiVo.

Redbox has more than 41,500 kiosks nationwide renting movie discs and games and a transactional VOD service Redbox On Demand.

“TiVo’s platform enables more tailored recommendations to connect Redbox consumers with the content they love, across viewing devices,” according to the TiVo press release.

Redbox will also enable TiVo’s Video and Video Game Metadata, including access to TiVo’s library of enhanced entertainment metadata and high-resolution imagery, to further personalize content discovery, according to the release.

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“We are excited that Redbox has selected our technology to give their customers a highly personalized, feature-rich entertainment experience they can enjoy across all of their devices,” said Walt Horstman, SVP and GM, advanced media and advertising, TiVo. “Redbox is fully utilizing our Personalized Content Discovery platform and showcasing how it can be used in many non-linear environments, including redbox.com, their mobile apps, and physical boxes throughout the country.”

“With TiVo’s Personalized Content Discovery platform, we are able to offer our consumers a more engaging and relevant entertainment experience across multiple devices,” said Ash Eldifrawi, chief marketing and customer experience officer at Redbox. “We’re gaining a more holistic view of all of our audience metrics, helping us align our data and insights across all devices and platforms, ultimately allowing us to grow our business.”

TiVo Inks Software Deal with Anime Provider Funimation

TiVo March 14 announced it is licensing software to Funimation, the anime content provider and a subsidiary of Sony Pictures Television. The software includes TiVo branded content search and recommendation technology.

The software will enable Funimation to test, manage and fine-tune search and recommendation performance in real-time to help improve the user experience and generate more engagement from viewer searches.

The software is now fully operational on Funimation’s website and on Funimation Now, the company’s streaming video platform, as well as across a wide range of over-the-top video platforms, including Apple TV, Google Chromecast and Roku streaming devices.

As part of the agreement, TiVo is also providing Funimation with an integrated product and merchandise search function that provides a single landing page for both viewable programs and relevant ecommerce merchandise including DVDs.

“Funimation provides an opportunity to showcase our personalization technology for content providers to help them make the consumer entertainment experience more engaging and streamlined,” Sean Moore, VP, content provider accounts, TiVo, said in a statement. “Through features like ‘More Like This,’ viewers will no longer have to search for content they might like; the content will now find them.”

 

TiVo Balloons Fiscal Loss, Eyes Splitting Business

DVR pioneer TiVo reported a fourth-quarter (ended Dec. 31, 2018) loss of $288 million, compared with income of $18 million during the previous-year period. Revenue fell 22% to $168.5 million, from $214.2 million a year earlier.

For the fiscal year, revenue dropped 16% to $695.8 million, from $826.4 million in 2017.

TiVo attributed much of the loss to a goodwill impairment charge of $269 million in its “product reporting” business unit.

Interim CEO Raghu Rau tried to put a positive spin on the results, saying TiVo continues to ready an undisclosed “unique entertainment discovery experience,” that it showcased at CES in Las Vegas and “received very promising feedback.”

Rau said TiVo plans to launch the “Internet age” product in the second half the year.

“We are very excited about the prospects for our long-term growth strategy,” he said.

The executive admitted that ongoing internal review of strategic alternatives for TiVo’s product and IP licensing businesses “is taking longer than we hoped.”

Indeed, quarterly revenue from IP licensing to pay-TV operators plummeted nearly 50% to $42.3 million from $83.6 million last year. IP licensing to CE manufacturers fell 31% to $8.9 million.

The increase in revenue from new media, international pay-TV providers was primarily due to a $5.7 million increase in catch-up payments.

“We have proactively begun working … on preparing for the possible separation of the two businesses to help address some of the complexities and potentially facilitate strategic transactions,” Rau said.

He said the company hopes to shed further light on strategic plans with the goal of driving shareholder value.

“We look forward to providing additional information by our first quarter earnings call,” Rau said.

 

 

TiVo: Netflix ‘Essential’ to 52.7% of Consumers

With more than 58 million domestic subscribers, Netflix is considered “essential” among consumers to their entertainment consumption, according to new data from TiVo.

The SVOD pioneer (52.7%) topped YouTube videos (45.9%) and cable TV (39.5%) as the primary source for home entertainment, according to a survey of 4,458 adult respondents in the United States and Canada conducted in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Just over 40% of respondents selected cable TV as supplemental to their home entertainment needs, suggesting consumers are divided in their loyalties to pay-TV, according to TiVo. This split doesn’t exist for Netflix, which is considered supplemental by only 30% of respondents.

The report found the average household among survey respondents used 2.75 media services in 2018 — up 26% since 2017.

“Live TV is still favored, but content providers such as Netflix and YouTube are gaining ground,” wrote TiVo.

The DVR pioneer, which has conducted its “TiVo Trends” media analysis since 2012, found that combining Netflix with Amazon Prime Video and pay-TV was a favored (10.6%) bundle among consumers. Other bundle options included Facebook, YouTube and pay-TV (7.5%) and YouTube, Netflix and pay-TV (7.5%).

Indeed, Comcast now offers direct access to Netflix, YouTube and Amazon Prime Video for Xfinity X1 subscribers. TiVo said 63.6% of respondents watch one hour or more of live TV per day, which tops OTT video (52.2%), recorded programming (51%) and live sports (45.6%).

“Clearly, consumers are still turning on their TVs and watching live content every day,” wrote TiVo.

The report found 69.3% of respondents use over-the-top video services while 30.7% do not. Among OTT video users, Netflix (50.4%) and Prime Video (21.8%) lead the pack among streaming video platforms.

Other included YouTube TV (11.9%), Hulu (9.5%), HBO Now (7.5%), Hulu with Live TV (6.9%), DirecTV Now (6.3%), CBS All Access (5.2%), PlayStation Vue (4.4%), Showtime OTT (4.1%), Starz (3.6%) and Sling TV (3.2%).

 

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TiVo Targets Cord-Cutters with Old-School Antenna Technology

TiVo is looking to attract cord- cutters with an updated set-top box that enables users to bypass pay-TV through an over-the-air antenna.

The TiVo BOLT OTA is a premium, 4K Ultra High-Definition capable set-top box designed to work with HD antenna, equipped with an on-screen user experience that looks and feels like a high-end cable box.

The all-in-one home entertainment product aims to combine the features of TiVo’s legacy DVR with online streaming services. TiVo Bolt OTA allows consumers to record and watch free, over-the-air HD TV.

TiVo’s DVR includes four tuners to avoid recording conflicts and stores up to 150 hours of HD programming. They can skip entire commercial breaks on recorded programs and use voice-activated technology.

The set-top works with almost any HD antenna and television, enabling consumers to watch or record programming in HD using an antenna (sold separately), but without the cost of renting equipment from a pay-TV provider.

The set-top combines OTT video and over-the-air access, giving consumers access on one user interface to top streaming apps like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu.

Users can search live TV, recordings and popular streaming services to deliver personalized results. Plus, they can stream and download shows to their mobile devices, watch their favorite content on-the-go, or schedule recordings almost anywhere with the free TiVo app or add a TiVo Mini for a multi-room, whole-home TV solution.

“TiVo Bolt OTA is the perfect solution for a broad range of TV enthusiasts, including those considering cutting their cable TV subscription or those who might have cut the cord but are missing some programs that are only available via live TV,” Ted Malone, VP of consumer products and services, said in a statement.

TiVo estimates that cord-cutters and those who intend to cut service, represent 25% of the general pay-TV viewing population.

 

Vudu Adds Sony TVs to 4K UHD Compatible Devices List

Walmart-owned online movie service Vudu.com has upgraded its Android TV app to include Sony televisions, enabling users to watch Vudu UHD titles in 4K with Dolby Vision HDR and HDR-10 functionality.

4K claims four time the pixels of 1080p with added life-like color of high dynamic range technology.

Vudu currently offers 4K UHD on most TV brands (Samsung, LG, Vizio, inadddtion to streaming media devices Apple TV, Google Chromecast, Roku, TiVo, Xbox One S and Nvidia Shield video game consoles.

“4K and HDR represent the best possible cinematic experience in the home – and we want to be able to deliver that experience to as many people as possible, accorss as many devices as possible,” Kristine Lopes, senior manager, product marketing at Vudu, said in a statement.

TiVo CEO Departs After Eight Months

TiVo July 5 announced that CEO Enrique Rodriguez is leaving to become CTO at Liberty Global, a telecom, pay-TV operator — and TiVo client — based in London.

TiVo said Raghu Rau, a member of the board of directors, has been named interim CEO, effective immediately. Rodriguez will remain at TiVo in an advisory role to ensure a smooth transition.

Rodriguez joined TiVo last November after two years as CTO at AT&T’s Entertainment Group. He had replaced retiring CEO Thomas Carson, who became TiVo’s chief executive after his company — Rovi Corp. — acquired TiVo.

TiVo, which pioneered the DVR and now licensing myriad over-the-top and digital video technologies, said it has retained an executive search firm to find a permanent CEO.

“On behalf of the board, I want to thank Enrique for his leadership and we wish him the best in his next chapter,” James Meyer, chairman of TiVo’s board, said in a statement.

As previously announced, the TiVo board continues to explore a broad range of strategic alternatives to maximize the value of its shareholders – including selling the company. With its independent financial and legal advisors, TiVo said it expects to provide an update on this review by the second quarter 2018 earnings call.

EIDR Appoints New Officers, Welcomes CAA to Board

EIDR (Entertainment ID Registry), the source of universal identifiers for digital distribution of movie and television assets, has appointed a slate of new officers to its board of directors and has welcomed back Eric Iverson of Creative Artists Agency (CAA) to the board.

Bill Kotzman, partner product manager at Google, will succeed Kip Welch of Motion Picture Laboratories (MovieLabs) as chair and will be based in Los Angeles. Kotzman is joined on the EIDR board by new president Greg Geier of Sony Pictures Entertainment, new VP Scott Maddux of TiVo and new treasurer Jeff Stevens of Warner Bros.

“It’s a tremendous time to be taking on the role of Chairman of EIDR,” said Kotzman in a statement. “The necessity of systemic automation of the media and entertainment supply chain is impossible without properly identified content, and the non-proprietary EIDR ID model is the gold standard for making that happen. The new board officers reflect the breadth of EIDR members, with Greg and Jeff representing major film studios, Scott representing a metadata provider and content discovery company, and myself representing a major digital retailer, I bring my years of experience in driving new models of workflow efficiency for Google Play, and know first-hand that EIDR has been a catalyst for value creation at Google. It’s clear that the true ‘network effect’ of EIDR’s global ubiquity is now within reach, and as we plan for the next version of EIDR (v3.0) — I look forward to working with the board and executive director Will Kreth to execute on that vision.”

EIDR also has added Iverson, CIO of Creative Artists Agency, to the board. He previously served on the board in his capacity at Sony Pictures Entertainment.

“I look forward to returning to EIDR to help them address the opportunities and challenges ahead,” said Iverson in a statement. “Around the industry, I get the chance to talk with senior executives daily about the potential for positive structural improvements in M&E. The respect for what EIDR has created, at nearly 2 million unique content IDs, and more than 3 million alternate IDs, is universal. EIDR is clearly becoming an important part of the data ecosystem. Obviously, the performance of the films and television shows in which our clients participate is significant, and we look forward to helping add value to EIDR’s emergence as a better way to measure that performance on digital distribution platforms.”

“EIDR’s mission is more important than ever as the industry deals with fragmentation in every corner of the ecosystem — from content creation to distribution to consumption,” said Maddux in a statement. “TiVo co-founded EIDR alongside MovieLabs and we remain deeply committed to the development of industry-standard ID solutions.”

“We’re extremely fortunate in three ways; with Bill taking on the role of Chairman, our slate of new board officers, and CAA not only joining us, but bringing Eric back into the fold,” said Will Kreth, executive director of EIDR, in a statement. “We have a collective powerhouse of a team, and I’m delighted to be working with them to both innovate and bring positive changes to the organization.”

EIDR is a universal identifier system for movie and television assets. EIDR provides globally unique identifiers for the entire range of audiovisual object types that are relevant to entertainment commerce.

TiVo Leaving Legacy Set-Top Box Business

TiVo, which helped create the digital video recording business, May 10 revealed it is transferring manufacturing, sales and distribution of legacy set-top boxes to a third party.

The unnamed partner will be responsible for all TiVo product sales outside the company’s website, including Amazon and Best Buy, CEO Enrique Rodriguez said on a fiscal call.

“This quarter saw the last MSO hardware revenue as we completed fulfillment of orders made last year,” Rodriguez said. “Once we complete this transition, we still will have direct consumer hardware sales through TiVo.com which we will be fulfilling through this box manufacturer.”

The CEO said that future hardware sales would be facilitated through the partner, with TiVo acting as a distribution channel. The change should have little impact on consumers.

“Basically, the consumer will continue seeing a TiVo-branded device … with TiVo software that they have known over the years,” Rodriguez said.

He said Amazon and Best Buy are better suited to sell hardware than TiVo, which was acquired by Rovi Corp. in 2016, with Rovi assuming the TiVo corporate name.

“We’re very confident in [the partner’s] ability to succeed there,” Rodriguez said.

Indeed, TiVo generated the bulk of first-quarter (ended March 31) revenue ($189.8 million) from licensing, services and software ($186.1 million), with hardware generating $3.6 million. The tallies trailed year-over-year total revenue ($205.7 million), licensing, services and software ($190.5 million) and hardware ($15.2 million).

TiVo is also exiting so-called non-core revenue channels, including Legacy TiVo Time Warp IP deals, hardware and analog products. Indeed, non-core revenue declined $25.7 million in the quarter compared to the previous-year period.

Finally, TiVo cut its fiscal loss in half to $17.7 million from $34.6 million last year.

TiVo Inks License Deal with Starz

Home entertainment technology pioneer TiVo April 3 said it signed a long-term intellectual property license agreement with Starz.

Lionsgate-owned Starz is acquiring a license to the TiVo patent portfolios and over-the-top video assets of the “intellectual ventures” patent portfolio under the TiVo/IV licensing partnership.

“This agreement emphasizes the importance of TiVo’s patent portfolios, especially for companies who are working to keep up with rapid developments and changes in the OTT video space,” Arvin Patel, EVP and chief intellectual property officer, Rovi Corp., a TiVo company, said in a statement.

TiVo, which created the digital video recorder market in 1999, has spent decades investing in R&D to enhance digital distribution technologies for the media and entertainment industry.

In 2016, Rovi acquired TiVo for $1.1 billion, incorporating the TiVo name as its new corporate identity. Between the two companies, they reportedly hold more than 6,000 patents used in practically every aspect of consumers’ day-to-day interaction with their entertainment.

“By leveraging [our] innovations, TV networks and other OTT [distributors] can quickly strengthen or upgrade the entertainment experiences they provide and in turn, spend more time and energy focused on other business priorities,” Patel said.

Indeed, patent litigation has proved to be a lucrative side business for TiVo. The company has been awarded by courts more than $1 billion in patent settlements through 2012.

Earlier this year, TiVo filed a lawsuit against Comcast, alleging the pay-TV operator’s X1 set-top infringes technology invented and patented by Rovi, including pausing and resuming shows on different devices, restarting programs in progress, advanced DVR recording features, and advanced search and voice functionality.