Struggling TiVo Tries to Reinvent Itself—Again

The company has stumbled into what it hopes will be the key to its future

TiVo has long struggled to find a permanent place in the living room, and with the DVR market dying , there’s a new urgency to its quest. So now the company has stumbled into what it hopes will be the key to its future, a reinvention as easy-to-use gateway and platform for all types of video content.

TiVo’s software has always been its greatest strength, and it’s trying to build on that by adding video surfing to its offerings. Its most recent deal is a partnership with Hulu Plus, just the latest in a string of arrangements TiVo has signed with video sites, like YouTube and Netflix, since 2008.

Given its history, and recent woes—it reportedly lost 22 percent of its subscription base last year—TiVo’s rebranding could be waved off as the last, desperate ploy of the condemned. It doesn’t help that the competition to become home video hub is fierce, with game consoles, offerings from tech powerhouses Apple and Google, and even television sets themselves in the mix. (Hulu Plus, for example, is also available on consoles, Apple devices, Roku, and several brands of TVs, along with PCs.)

“If you looked at our financial results [last quarter], they’re not encouraging,” admits Derrick Nueman, TiVo’s head of investor relations. “Part of that has been, from a subscriber perspective, we’ve seen declines… We are no longer a DVR company.” But Nueman believes there’s still an opportunity for the company to make a turnaround: “The market is huge… [and] I think we’re at the cusp of it.”