|TiVo Wants to Be the Google of Television. How?|
By helping viewers search for programs and by selling ads and ratings data to advertisers. A still-potent brand name and 140 patents should help
By Ronald Grover
June 29, 2009
It's a familiar story. Upstart popularizes technology that threatens to disrupt an industry. Larger rivals enter picture and try to squeeze out little guy. TiVo (TIVO), whose set-top boxes made it routine for viewers to save TV shows on a hard drive so they could watch them later (and fast-forward through the ads), has followed this very trajectory. The cable companies began rolling out their own digital videorecorders a few years ago, and TiVo has been hemorrhaging subscribers ever since.
The TiVo story doesn't end there, however. By leveraging its still potent brand name and cache of more than 140 patents, the Alviso (Calif.) company is trying to remake itself as the Google (GOOG) of television—helping viewers navigate the increasing crush of entertainment choices and selling ads to boot. "Like Google," says CEO Thomas S. Rogers, "TiVo will bring that ease of use to TV sets." A laudable goal, but this is a crowded field.
There's a lot more at: businessweek.com