Pluto TV, TiVo Upgrade Partnership to Include 72 Channels

Ad-supported VOD distribution continues to make friends. TiVo Oct. 15 announced new channel launches from Pluto TV, bringing an additional 72 featured channels to the TiVo+ content network. TiVo Plus (“TiVo+”), was launched in 2019, offering free access to ad-supported VOD content. The service requires access through TiVo hardware devices such as the TiVo Edge, Bolt or other DVR products.

The launch of these new Pluto TV channels means TiVo+ users have seamless access to even more linear and on-demand content, including movies, news, sports, kids, entertainment and lifestyle programming. Also launching are 13 new Spanish language channels.

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TiVo+ users on TiVo Stream 4K will have access to Pluto TV, with its branded online channel guide, recommendation software to make it easier to navigate all 144 TiVo+ channels, in addition to the thousands of on-demand movies and television shows.

“TiVo really knows how to drive discovery of our linear and on-demand content,” Jeff Shultz, EVP and chief business officer of Pluto TV, said in a statement. “We’re very excited to be advancing our partnership with TiVo in a way that puts Pluto TV content front and center.”

Pluto TV is also available for TiVo Stream 4K users and rolling out now to customers on select TiVo DVR and related devices.

“Pluto TV has been an integral partner helping us make more incredible content available to our customers as part of our fully integrated TiVo+ experience,” said Matt Milne, chief revenue officer of Xperi, parent of TiVo.

Milne said the Pluto TV deal helps TiVo expand the AVOD market, which aims to compete against SVOD services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ and Hulu with ad-supported content that doesn’t require a subscription.

“This [deal] really demonstrates our commitment to offer a range of free, high quality programming for our customers,” he said.

Since launching the TiVo+ content network, 144 channels have been added to the service from a range media partners that offer a wide range of content, including movies, music, sports and kids and family content. Alongside the ongoing partnership with Sling TV, TiVo+ on TiVo Stream 4K offers an alternative for those that have cut the pay-TV cord. In the six-month period between March and September 2020, TiVo+ has seen unique viewership increase 90% and viewer engagement increase 165%.

TiVo: 30% of Americans Using Smart TVs to Stream Video

In an over-the-top video ecosystem, new data from the latest TiVo Video Trends Report finds that more than 30% of Americans surveyed access streaming video through Internet-connected televisions. That compares with 16.3%, 15.4% and 14.3% for the next three most-popular streaming media devices, including mobile devices, Amazon Fire TV and Roku, respectively.

The data, which is based on a first-quarter (ended March 31) survey of 4,367 adults in the U.S. and Canada, would appear to slightly undermine Roku’s actual market share considering the streaming media pioneer’s OS software powers most Chinese-made Smart TVs not branded Samsung.

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TiVo said Samsung’s Wizen operating system is found in more than 50% of Smart TVs, followed by Google-owned Android TV (14.1%), Roku (13%) and LG’s WebOS (2%). Mobile devices are primarily powered by Apple iOS and Google Android.

Notably, Peacock, NBCUniversal’s pending streaming service, will be available on Vizio SmartCast TVs and LG Smart TVs when it launches July 15. Meanwhile, WarnerMedia’s HBO Max launched May 27 without distribution on Roku and Fire TV, underscoring the platform’s sluggish launch.

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According to data from Sensor Tower, 87,000 people used the Apple App Store and Google Play to download the HBO Max app on its first day. That was dwarfed by rivals Quibi and Disney+, which generated 380,000 and 4 million mobile downloads, respectively, on their first days of operation.

TiVo Reveals New Management Structure, Including Former Warner Bros. Executive Darcy Antonellis as Board Member

Last December DVR pioneer TiVo and Xperi merged in a $3 billion deal to focus on licensing each other’s IP technology throughout the consumer electronics ecosystem.

Xperi June 15 announced its new senior leadership team following the completion of the merger, led by Xperi CEO Jon Kirchner; CFO Robert Andersen; Samir Armaly, president of IP Licensing; Petronel Bigioi, CTO of product; Paul Davis, chief legal officer and corporate secretary; Kris Graves, chief human resources officer; Michael Hawkey, GM of TiVo; Matt Milne, chief revenue officer; John Pernin, chief strategy and corporate development officer; Geir Skaaden, chief products and services officer; Steve Teig, CEO of Perceive, and advisor to the office of the CTO; and Murali Dharan, president and COO of Perceive.

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Darcy Antonellis

Joining the company’s new board of directors is former Warner Bros. CTO Darcy Antonellis, division president of Amdocs Media and CEO of Vubiquity, the media/entertainment distribution technology and services provider acquired by Amdocs in 2018. She has served on Xperi’s board since December 2018.

Also joining the board is Raghavendra Rau, interim president/CEO of TiVo from July 2018 to May 2019. He served as a member of TiVo’s board beginning May 2015 and as vice chairman beginning June 2019.

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In addition, Xperi made changes within its product and IP licensing business. The coveted segment — which includes more than 11,000 patents and applications in digital media, entertainment, advertising, automotive and semiconductors, many with recurring subscriber-based revenue — will be headed by Armaly, who has been involved with the business for 25 years, including in various executive roles at Gemstar — TV Guide, Rovi, and most recently TiVo.

Armaly was involved in the development of the company’s current media licensing business in the early 2000s, and under his leadership established it among the industry leaders, generating billions of dollars in revenue and profits for the company.

“Samir’s demonstrated track record in building IP businesses as well as his expertise and familiarity with our business, customers and licensing platform will be an important asset for our IP business going forward and ultimately upon its separation from the product business,” CEO Kirchner said in a statement.

TiVo Bows Branded 4K Video Streaming Device

TiVo May 6 announced the retail availability of “TiVo Stream 4K,” a streaming media device that melds TV shows and movies from different platforms on one screen.

TiVo Stream 4K features live television from online TV pioneer Sling TV, in addition to direct access to 4K programming from Netflix and Prime Video (all requiring separate subscriptions and a 4K-compatible TV).

First unveiled at CES Las Vegas 2020, TiVo Stream 4K is now available at TiVo.com with an introductory price of $49.99 and a free 7-day trial of Sling TV for new subscribers.

‘TiVo 4K Stream’ device

“At a time when viewers are streaming more than ever across a sea of platforms, TiVo Stream 4K integrates content with recommendation and search features to make it easier to find,” TiVo CEO Dave Shull said in a statement. “[This] is symbolic of our company’s transformation from … DVR provider to a pioneer in the streaming market.”

TiVo Stream 4K features include integration with major streaming video services on the Google Play Store, eliminating the need to toggle between multiple apps to access TV shows, and with TiVo’s intuitive search options and intelligent recommendations, users can find titles and discover new shows within one interface.

TiVo Stream 4K users also have access to thousands of hours of free movies and TV shows as well as 49 free streaming channels across news, sports, kids, food, music and comedy.

The device includes Dolby Atmos sound and Dolby Vision HDR and plugs into existing HDMI ports on TVs and combined with a streamlined version of TiVo’s “peanut” remote control enabling conversational search.

“TiVo has taken search to the next level, making it more convenient for customers to take advantage of the value Sling TV offers,” said Warren Schlichting, group president, Sling.

TiVo Partnership Offers Easier Access to Pluto TV

TiVo will offer easier access to ViacomCBS-owned AVOD service Pluto TV via a new partnership.

The deal offers one-click access to Pluto TV’s programming.

Pluto TV will be rolling out in the coming weeks on TiVo EDGE, TiVo’s premium 4K Ultra High Definition (UHD) media device, with versions designed to work with HD antenna or digital cable. Pluto TV will also soon become available on the upcoming TiVo Stream 4K device.

“Launching Pluto TV in an integrated way with TiVo aligns perfectly with our goal to provide a friction-free viewer experience with our distribution partners,” said Pluto TV CEO Tom Ryan in a statement. “Today, over 22 million people a month in the U.S. tune in to stream our programming which spans across all genres of movies, news, TV shows, sports, and documentaries, and we look forward to reaching many more together as part of the TiVo+ video network.”

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“We launched TiVo+ because we wanted to bring entertainment together in one easy place for viewers, and this partnership allows viewers to easily discover an awesome array of 50,000 hours of free programming from Pluto TV via TiVo+,” said TiVo president and CEO Dave Shull in a statement. “Now we can definitively say we’re catering to everyone’s tastes and preferences, making finding, watching and enjoying something they love easier than ever before.”

TiVo: Ad-Supported VOD Gaining Traction

The subscription streaming video market is getting crowded. Pioneering behemoths like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video dominate, spending tens of billions of dollars on original content to lure and retain subscribers in the face of newcomers Apple TV+, Disney+, HBO Max, Peacock and Quibi, among others.

As a result, ad-supported VOD content is attracting greater market share, according to new data from TiVo, which found the average U.S. household had 6.9 streaming services in the fourth quarter 2019, up from five services during the same period in 2017.

At more than 73%, YouTube remains the most popular source of free streaming content, followed closely by Facebook (62.3%). Free video from network sites has skyrocketed in popularity (up 31.9% from the previous-year period), while Crackle (+2.4%), Tubi (+3.8 %), The Roku Channel (o.2%), Xumo, Vevo (+5.4%) and Twitch (+3.3%) also gained viewers.

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Indeed, 37.5% of respondents from a fourth-quarter online survey of 6,145 participants in the United States and Canada, said they were “very satisfied” with AVOD, up from 35.4% during the previous-year period. That compared to 33.1% who said they were “very satisfied” with SVOD, down from 33.5% last year.

As expected, the report found that most respondents still find new movies and TV shows to watch through SVOD services Netflix (34.7%) and Prime Video (25.2%), followed closely by free YouTube videos (23%) and pay-TV (21.2%).

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For TV series that consumers watch regularly, it’s a different story. TiVo said pay-TV dominates, with 35% of respondents indicating they find new episodes of their regularly watched series through cable or satellite TV.

Notably, respondents cited transactional VOD services such as iTunes, Amazon, Redbox On Demand, Vudu, and Google Play, among others, as go-to platforms in search of new movie content. That was ahead of platforms such as Hulu, Showtime OTT and Starz.

Another 54% of respondents say they find out about new shows or movies from commercials or ads that run within their current pay-TV or AVOD content.

“Consumers are increasingly ready and willing to adopt innovative (yet simple) technology, devices or services that can serve as guides on their quest to find what they want to watch,” read the report. “They need technology that adds value to their lives, whether by helping them efficiently locate the content they’re looking for or by leading them to the video pathways that suit their needs and desires.”

 

TiVo Adds Content Partners to Streaming Video Service

TiVo Jan. 8 formally announced an additional 23 new content partners for its ad-supported TiVo+ video network. The new channels join the current lineup of 26 streaming channels available to TiVo customers.

New content partners include USA Today, Cheddar, Top Stories by Newsy, Sportswire and MMA Junkie. Lifestyle channels include Condé Nast, Tastemade, Latido Music, Mobcrush and Revry.

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The Condé Nast partnership will bring programming from Glamour, Bon Appetit, Traveler, GQ and Wired, while the Tastemade partnership will bring Food, Travel and Home Design programming.

The comedy genre will expand to include “Funny or Die” and “The Chive”. TiVo+ Kids, movies and TV categories will now include “Mr. Bean & Friends,” “Kabillion,” “Law & Crime,” “American Classics,” “OMG! Network” and “Reel Truth.”

TiVo+ is attempting to join a growing ad-supported VOD market that includes The Roku Channel, Amazon’s IMDb TV, Pluto TV, Tubi, Shout! Factory TV and Crackle, among others.

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“In a world where people have more entertainment subscriptions than they can count on one hand, TiVo is working to bring everything together in one place for viewers,” CEO Dave Shull said in a statement.

 

TiVo Unveils $50 4K Streaming Video Device With Sling TV

LAS VEGAS — TiVo Jan. 7 at CES announced TiVo Stream 4K, a $50 streaming video device with live TV and featuring cloud DVR from a Sling TV app, in addition to other third-party content services.

TiVo Stream 4K will launch with Dish Network’s Sling TV (separate subscription required) as the preferred source for online TV. The device will also integrate with multiple online video services, including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, HBO, YouTube — eliminating the need to toggle between multiple apps to access TV shows.

TiVo Stream 4K includes a small device that plugs into the HDMI port on the television featuring Dolby Atmos sound and Dolby Vision HDR.

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The device will also feature TiVo+, the ad-sponsored platform streaming television shows and movies. The AVOD service added 23 channels to join the current lineup of 26 channels currently available.

“With TiVo Stream 4K, we have created a dramatically better experience for viewers who are tired of hunting through apps and interfaces to find the amazing content available through online content providers,” CEO Dave Shull said in a statement.

In addition, the Sling TV app will be available on the TiVo Stream 4K box and Sling content listings will be surfaced via universal search. Sling’s 2.6 million subs will be able to search for TV shows on the TiVo Stream 4K interface — or by speaking into their Voice Remote — and a wide variety of shows offered by Sling TV will be presented alongside the free channels offered through TiVo+.

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“This strategic relationship will not only help our current subscribers rediscover TiVo, it will make it easier for new Sling subscribers to make the transition to streaming video,” said Warren Schlichting, EVP and group president, Sling TV.

TiVo will also market TiVo Stream 4K in partnership with multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs) to enable them to leverage TiVo Stream 4K to benefit their broadband-only subscribers. Schurz Communications is the first MVPD to commit to a co-marketing relationship with TiVo.

TiVo Stream 4K will be available to customers beginning in April and will be available via TiVo.com and other retail channels.

TiVo Merging With Xperi in $3 Billion Transaction

DVR pioneer TiVo has shelved plans to separate its legacy set-top hardware business from software licensing and is merging with Xperi, a marketer of audio technology in an all stock deal worth about $3 billion.

The company will operate under the Xperi corporate name while TiVo will continue to operate its brand name. Xperi CEO Jon Kirchner will be chief executive of the combined companies with CFO Robert Andersen assuming the same position. TiVo CEO Dave Shull, who took the position in May, will serve as a strategic advisor.

“This landmark combination brings together two highly complementary companies poised to set the industry standard for user experiences across the digital value chain,” Kirchner said in a statement.

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With more than 10,000 patents and applications between the two companies and minimal licensee overlap, the combined IP business will be one of the largest licensing companies in the world.

Together, the companies expect to benefit from a larger and stronger platform to drive growth, accelerate time-to-market, and improve IP licensing monetization and outcomes. The product business expects to pursue substantial cross-selling opportunities especially in its home and automotive markets.

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The new company had $1.09 billion in TiVo revenue and Xperi billings topped more than $250 million in operating cash flow on a pro forma basis for the twelve months ended Sept. 30, 2019.

The companies expect to achieve at least $50 million of annualized run-rate cost savings by year-end 2021 through the integration of their respective product and IP licensing businesses, the majority of which are expected within the first twelve months after closing. These cost savings are incremental to those that are expected as a result of TiVo’s ongoing cost-transformation plan.

“In a rapidly expanding and fragmenting digital universe, consumers want and need to be able to easily find and enjoy the content that matters to them,” Shull said.  “With Xperi’s annual licensing of more than 100 million connected TV units, and complementary relationships with major content providers, consumer electronics manufacturers, and automotive OEMs, our combined company will transform the home, car, and mobile entertainment experience for the consumer.”

TiVo Adds Amazon Prime Video App

TiVo Dec. 3 launched the Prime Video app on select TiVo devices to its pay-TV operator customers nationwide, making Amazon Originals, movies and TV shows easier to find.

Pay-TV subscribers with an Amazon Prime membership can stream content via the Prime Video app on select TiVo devices. With the TiVo Voice Remote, users can find what they are looking for by simply saying the name of the show, movie, or an actor’s name into the remote.

For example, saying “Find the show with John Krasinski” will display “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan” where the viewer can select from a list of episodes. Customers can also use a TiVo feature that gathers every episode of a series available from anywhere, to bookmark episodes for later viewing.

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“Adding the Prime Video app means fueling fandom for great content that reaches millions of households,” TiVo CEO Dave Shull said in a statement.

The Prime Video app on TiVo includes enhanced experiences, such as select 4K Ultra HD and High Dynamic Range (HDR) content and a behind the scenes look at movies and TV shows with X-Ray, powered by IMDb.

“Providing Prime members with great content and offering them an excellent viewing experience has always been our priority,” said Andrew Bennett, director of worldwide business development for Amazon Prime Video. “By making the Prime Video app available for select TiVo pay-TV operator customers, we can further expand the number of people that can enjoy Prime Video’s popular movies, hit TV shows and exclusive Amazon Original series as part of a seamless viewing experience.”