TiVo’s prospects down under

19 08 2007

Following its misadventure in the U.K. in the early 1990s (due, no doubt, to its decision to get in to bed with NewsCorp.-owned BSkyB), TiVo spent the following few years focusing on its key U.S. business.

It’s only in the last couple of years that TiVo has, once again, spread its tenticles further afield: to China and, more recently, Australia.

Not much has been heard of the China (or was it just Taiwan) deal since 2005 which, for a company which has so effectively timed press announcements of any kind to coincide with results reporting, likely means no news is… no news.

But the Oz deal is generating an increasing amount of press, not least this spoiler piece, coincidentally from a paper owned by NewsCorp., which also happens to own the majority interest in pay TV platform Foxtel and offer its own DVR product.

Perhaps a reaction to other reports last week that TiVo has bagged charter advertising partnerships with 20 companies, each paying AU $1 million (US $792,517) each to learn more about what makes ad-skippers tick.

Australian TV and its liberal sprinkling of ads (most usually with very low production values) throughout programmes makes it ripe for DVRs.

Yet, paradoxically, many of its free-to-air broadcasters have actively suppressed the emergence of DVRs through some strange anomaly which allows them to retain copyright over listings information and, thus, strangling EPGs which are the lifeblood of DVRs.

The copyright ruling was successfully challenged in an Australian court earlier this month

But it’s already an overcrowded market: TiVo will be launching against Foxtel’s already-established DVR, domestic company ICE TV — which, like TiVo, offers a platform-agnostic product — and, according to other speculation, possibly a DVR-enabled Sony PlayStation 3 too. 

One to watch…

Chinese video sharing site targets > 30s

17 07 2007


When it comes to social networks, most press coverage is devoted to the usual suspects: MySpace, YouTube, etc. So interesting to see the latest stats from the world’s most populated country, China.

According to figures for the first half of 2007, youku.com is gaining market share over domestic competitors. However, unlike equivalent offers from market leader Tudou (dubbed China’s answer to YouTube), and western counterparts, youku is seeking to differentiate itself by targeting > 30s (including appropriately skewed content), a market which it believes is more lucrative. 

In common with the rest of the online video sector, agnostic of geography, 2007 will prove to be a year of consolidation: “There may be no more than five operators in the market by the second half of 2007 and no more than three players by next year,” said Mr. Victor Koo, CEO of Youku.com. “We are starting to see the turning point in this space.”