TiVo’s had a hard time persuading Wall Street that there’s still a place for its DVRs in an increasingly competitive market for TV boxes. But its just-released report for the quarter ending in October, and plans for 2016, may help a little.
The company reported the biggest-ever net increase in its customer base: It added 418,000 from the end of July, bringing its global total to 6.5 million — a 26% increase vs the same point last year. More than 85% come from deals with small to mid-sized cable companies that don’t have their own set-top boxes, and offer TiVos to provide sophisticated services to customers.
But CEO Tom Rogers — who recently announced his plan to give up that title and serve as chairman — says he’s optimistic that TiVo’s new Bolt DVR can help it to remain relevant. The device blends traditional TV and streaming services including Netflix, jumps past many ads in recorded programming, and enables users to speed up the playback.
“I’ve been doing this for 11 years and I don’t think I’ve ever seen from anybody — Apple, Amazon, or Google — a better reviewed retail consumer electronics television product,” he tells me. “We had high expectations for it, and it blew away our expectations.”
The ad skipping — as opposed to fast-forwarding through commercials — is popular. But the speeded up, or Quick Mode, viewing has also proved to be an important attraction.
“News, sports and awards programming is really well suited” for that, Rogers says. By shortening the amount of time spent watching shows “people start to think about what they can do with that time. It’s resonating as a feature that people hadn’t thought of when it comes to traditional television before.”
Bolt was released late in the fiscal third quarter, so investors will have to wait to see how much it contributes to the company’s performance.
With some one-time expenses, TiVo reported $5.28 million in net income, down 16.8%, on $132.32 million in revenue, up 11.7%. The top line was well ahead of the $101.18 that analysts expected.
TiVo warned that in the current quarter it may end up with a net loss of as much as $8 million after factoring in as much as $12 million in “transition costs” to cover Rogers’ departure as CEO. Without the costs it might have seen a profit of as much as $6 million.
Rogers told analysts in a call that he announced his move before finding a successor because “this was the time I wanted to make the transition and you can’t do a search for a public company without it becoming known that you’re doing a search.”
TiVo shares have lost more than 21% of their value in 2015.