By Patrick Avenell
TiVo, the much maligned “media device”, will soon be made available at David Jones stores. Originally, this hotted-up PVR was available only through Harvey Norman, but will the expansion of the retail base may finally see take up reach expectation?
The announcement, made earlier today, said that TiVo would be available for the set RRP of $699 from 10 November. In an era of fierce price wars and ruthless undercutting, the maintenance of this price through the expansion of retailers, including JB Hi-Fi, is extraordinary. David Jones, with its reputation as Australia’s blueblood department store, is unlikely to challenge this.
TiVo’s distributor, Hybrid Television Services is headed up my CEO Robbee Minicola. In her announcement of this deal, Minicola emphasised the differentiation between TiVo and its PVR competitors. The new phrase is “media device”, which is intended to highlight the expanded connectivity of TiVo’s offering. In the United States, the word ‘Tivo’ has become a verb meaning to record off the television digitally. Locally, however, people talk more about ‘iQ-ing’ a show – a reference to Foxtel’s iQ product, which has many similar functions to TiVo, but with far greater content through access to Foxtel’s 150-plus channels.
Regardless of TiVo’s shortcomings, Minicola is focusing on expanding the retail base before Christmas in an effort to drive sales and market share.
"With the TiVo media device retailed through David Jones we have reached a significant milestone in the lead up to Christmas,” said Minicola. “Between the purchase convenience for consumers, the David Jones premium brand and our unique product positioning as a media device, not a PVR, we are well on track to deliver our national footprint."
The timing for this move is curious. Christmas is the biggest retail time of the year, and is clearly the motivating factor. But TiVo appeals to television fanatics – people that need to make sure they never miss an episode of their favourite show. The Summer period is the offseason for TV, with the stations showing second rate offerings and sitcom reruns in the times between cricket tests and tennis matches. In short, sport is king in Summer, and sport isn’t something you tape to watch later or watch again. If TiVo really is to become the “media device” of choice for Australia’s TV aficionados, it may have to wait until the TV itself picks up around March next year.