SAN JOSE, Calif. – TiVo Inc. (search) unleashed a marketing campaign and price rebates Monday, marking the digital video recorder pioneer's most aggressive — and most critical — push yet to win subscribers and become profitable.
The Alviso, Calif.-based company, whose revolutionary technology records TV programs without the hassles of videotape and lets users pause live TV and do instant replays, is offering $100 rebates for its own branded DVRs as well as several other devices that use TiVo's technology.
Print ads are planned in dozens of newspapers and magazines. TiVo products, which are already sold through retailers such as Best Buy (BBY), Circuit City (CC), Good Guys, and Amazon.com (AMZN), will also expand to store shelves in Sam's Club, CompUSA, Target.com, Fry's Electronics and Costco.
The moves are all part of an ambitious growth initiative that TiVo announced in March, when it set aside $50 million in marketing expenses to help it more than double its subscribers to almost 3 million by the end of January 2005.
"This will set the stage and give us a chance at profitability by the end of our next fiscal year," said Brodie Keast, TiVo's executive vice president and general manager.
TiVo has a loyal following of users but faces increasing competition from cable and satellite providers that are introducing DVR features without TiVo's service.
As Forrester Research analyst Josh Bernoff put it: "This is it. This is their shot to get a whole lot of new subscribers before cable DVR subscribers really take off."