TiVo Extends IP Licensing Agreement With Sony

TiVo Feb. 2 announced a multiyear extension of agreements for its patent portfolios with Sony Corp. Since creating the digital video recorder decades ago, TiVo has created myriad software and technology patents enabling media companies to record, store, find, sell and rent video entertainment.

TiVo’s innovations make it easier for viewers to find and watch content across a multitude of platforms, including television (i.e. Sony Bravia), laptops, desktop PCs and portable devices.

“We are proud to extend our licensing agreements with Sony,” Samir Armaly, president of intellectual property at Xperi Corp., corporate parent of TiVo, said in a statement. “Sony is a creative entertainment company with a solid foundation of technology, and we are excited to build on our long-standing relationship with them.”

TiVo, TCL Expand Intellectual Property Relationship

TiVo Jan. 21 announced a multiyear extension and expansion of its IP agreement with TCL, a consumer electronics brand and technology company.

TiVo, which helped invent the digital video recorder (DVR), has over the years invested in research and development to create software licensed to the media and entertainment industry. TiVo’s innovations make it easier for viewers to find, watch and store content across a multitude of platforms.

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“We believe this agreement further demonstrates the continued relevance of our IP portfolio in the consumer electronics space,” Samir Armaly, president of IP licensing of TiVo corporate parent Xperi, said in a statement. “The licenses provided under our expanded agreement will enable TCL to continue delivering the very best experience for its customers, even as the television industry undergoes rapid transformation and change.”

TiVo over the years has been embroiled in litigation with Comcast, Microsoft and Verizon, among others, as the market for digital entertainment distribution rapidly evolves and changes.

Jonathan King, VP of corporate and legal affairs with TCL, said the agreement with TiVo underscores the company’s commitment to recognizing patents.

“This expanded agreement further demonstrates TCL’s commitment and respect for intellectual property as we continue introducing industry-leading features and capabilities for our loyal users,” King said.

TiVo Launches New Movie, TV Show Recommendation Software

TiVo Nov. 4 announced the launch of Deep Discovery, a new API based software that helps users find movies and TV shows targeting their interests.

Elisa, a Finnish-based telecommunications and digital services company, has signed a multiyear extension of its agreement with TiVo, which will include deploying Deep Discovery to help subscribers of its video service, Elisa Viihde, find more programming and movies.

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“In a content landscape with more options than ever, advanced personalization and relevance are fundamental for products and services as consumers increasingly want to interact with brands that know what they want, before they even search for it,” Chris Ambrozic, VP of product at Discovery for Xperi, said in a statement.

TiVo’s Deep Discovery package allows TV and video service providers, consumer electronics manufacturers and new media companies to better maximize the value of their catalogs and drive conversion, engagement and loyalty. With Deep Discovery, content is enriched to a new level of detail with metadata like “moods,” “tones,” “themes,” “weighted keywords,” “age descriptors” and “popularity scores,” among others.

“We’re deepening our relationship with TiVo to make it easier for our customers to discover great content,” said Magnus Pettersson, development director at Elisa. “This new long-term agreement will benefit our customers immediately as we roll out TiVo’s API based solution. TiVo’s ambition and commitment to providing new and innovative metadata products that embrace machine learning and AI bring the opportunity to make the user experience of our IPTV&OTT services even better than before.”

 

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.