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TiVo breaks the $100 barrier

Sun, 08/08/2004 - 8:00pm
Jeff Baumgartner

TiVo Inc. has reduced the price of its 40-hour DVR to $99 and coupled that with a national ad campaign in a bid to boost subscribers amid growing competition from cable operators.

The campaign, set to kick off Wednesday, will offer a $100 rebate on a newly designed TiVo Series 2 box, and an expanded retail footprint to include Sam's Club, Target.com, Costco, CompUSA and Fry's Electronics. TiVo also has retail relationships with Amazon.com, Best Buy, Circuit City, Dell.com and Good Guys.

Time will tell if the $99 gambit proves to be a magical price point for TiVo in its effort to reach critical mass. Despite its cult following, TiVo has struggled to sign up 1.6 million subs so far. Of that subscription figure, only about 724,000 are for stand-alone boxes. The rest are bundled with the DirecTV service.

"Breaking the $100 threshold and expanding our distribution footprint now puts TiVo within reach of many more consumers," said Brodie Keast, TiVo's EVP and general manager, in a release.

TiVo is applying the $99 price tag (after a $100 mail-in rebate) to its 40-hour model purchased between Aug. 11 and Sept. 30, when service is activated before Oct. 31. TiVo also is cutting the price on its 80-hour model to $199 and 140-hour to $299.

The company is complementing the price cut with a marketing campaign that includes magazine ads and radio spots.

TiVo also introduced a "rewards program" for loyalists. Existing subs can earn points when they refer friends and family members who purchase the DVR box and service. Points can be redeemed for TiVo upgrades and products, Apple iPods, Nikon digital cameras and Bose headphones.

The company also inked a deal to offer a TiVo-branded Platinum MasterCard via a partnership with Juniper Bank.

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