TiVo Deathwatch

Let's get one thing straight: we love TiVo. We've been rooting for them for them since we got our first box (an original 14 hour Series 1 box that we still use to this day) and it's not that we don't want them to stick around, but we think it's time to face facts and admit that this company is in some serious trouble. Nah, their demise is not a foregone conclusion, but given events of the past few months (and as much as it tears us up inside to do this), we're launching a TiVo deathwatch.

Here are the facts: They've had two senior executives leave in the past month. DirecTV, which drives most of their subscriber base, is more or less just letting the clock run out on the rest of their deal. TiVo's stock is trading near its 52-week low (it's around $3.75 a share today, a year ago it was trading north of ten bucks), and they continue to lose money quarter after quarter. Except for their acquisition of Strangeberry last year and some vague plans about launching a video-on-demand service with Netflix, they've given no indication of how they're going to turn things around in the face of stiff competition from all sides.

Sorry TiVo, but we're declaring this deathwatch until further notice. We hope you'll seriously turn things around-you know what you need to do. We'll be updating this post periodically to reflect new developments until TiVo either declares bankruptcy, gets acquired, or (hopefully) become consistently profitable.

  • September 30, 2004 - TiVo announces plans to team up with Netflix on a video-on-demand service.

  • November 22, 2004 - TiVo announces results for the quarter ending October 31st. They lose "only" 33 cents a share, three times what they were losing a year earlier.

  • January 6, 2005 - DirecTV, TiVo's primary source of (new) subscribers with 2 of their 3 million customers, announces that it will introduce its own integrated digital video recorder. Their contractual agreement ends in 2007, and is not expected to be renewed.

  • January 12, 2005 - TiVo CEO and co-founder Mike Ramsay steps aside as CEO. He will remain on as chairman.

  • February 1, 2005 - TiVo president Marty Yudkovitz resigns.

  • February 2, 2005 - TiVo's stock slumps to a 52-week low.

  • February 18, 2005 - TiVo breaks three million subscribers.

  • March 15, 2005 - TiVo cuts a deal to put their software on Comcast's DVR set-top boxes. Financial terms are not disclosed.

  • May 5, 2005 - TiVo (and OEM Humax) are named in a patent-infringement lawsuit by EchoStar, owner of Dish Network.

  • August 24, 2005 - TiVo reports first ever break-even quarter.

  • April 12, 2006 - Surprising many, TiVo and DirecTV announce a three-year extension of their service contract for DirecTiVos, and agree not to work one another over on patent rights.

  • April 13, 2006 - Jury votes in favor of TiVo in the EchoStar case. Award, supposedly totaling $74 million, does not proceed as EchoStar petitions judge to stay case while USPTO reviews the TiVo patent that is the crux of the case.