TiVo and DJs to separate, Dick Smith not on the agenda

Exclusive by Patrick Avenell

SYDNEY, NSW: The new TiVo 320 will not be sold in Dick Smith stores because the retailer is too focused on price, according to licensee Hybrid TV CEO Robbee Minicola. Additionally, David Jones is being phased out as retail partner because the retailer could not fully grasp the concept of a media device.

Previously a retailer of the original TiVo device, now known as the TiVo 160, David Jones has not been renewed as a sales partner for the new model, available in stores 1 December 2009. Although Minicola praised David Jones as a retailer in general, saying she loved shopping there personally, she said the TiVo device was not the right fit for the premium department store.

“People move to their sweet spot,” Minicola said. “If you look at David Jones, they are very TV and Apple centric, and I think the concept of a media device is just not on their radar.”

Minicola did stress that this had been an organic process. She said it was akin to when people drift apart, rather than fall out over an argument.  As for Dick Smith, Minicola was resolute in her reasons for not pursuing a distribution agreement.

“In the case of Dick Smith, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with Dick Smith, I just don’t think that’s the right retail environment for us as well because that’s very price, price, price and we were constantly being brought into this [feature comparison] and the poor consumer is sitting there going ‘okay, I’m getting riddled with technology and components, so I think I’ll take that one’.”

Minicola said she preferred retailers to focus on the benefits of the adaptable and expandable TiVo 320, rather than compare features such as hard disk size and the number of tuners. For this to happen, Minicola needs to control the size of TiVo’s distribution, so that the sales and training team can best educate the retailers.

“From our perspective, how well can we manage and train in the field people to understand the product? Because if we have an 85-90 per cent footprint in retail and then we introduce something like Caspa, how do we train people around the country to [understand] this product?”

For Minicola, the answer is to limit distribution to a manageable size.

UPDATE: Current.com.au has learned that Dick Smith does currently sell the TiVo 160. It will not, however, be selling the new 320 model.

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