TiVo Coming to Virgin's Non-DVRs, Too
1:30 PM -- TiVo Inc. (Nasdaq: TIVO)'s on board to be the exclusive middleware and user interface provider for Virgin Media Inc. (Nasdaq: VMED)'s next-gen HD boxes, and not just the models with onboard DVRs -- a first for the DVR pioneer. (See Virgin Presses 'Play' on TiVo.)
TiVo CEO Tom Rogers clarified that during Tuesday afternoon's third-quarter earnings call. "This deal... marks the first time TiVo will be providing the interface, not just for the DVR platforms, but for the traditional next-generation set-top boxes without DVR capability, as well," he explained.
So, where does this leave SeaChange International Inc. (Nasdaq: SEAC), which is supplying its TV Navigator middleware for 3.8 million of Virgin's digital boxes today?
SeaChange, which got into the middleware game in 2005 after putting up $25.5 million for Liberate Technologies' international assets, will still be involved, supplying the centralized backend and management software running inside multiple types of boxes on the Virgin network. This includes the upcoming set-tops that will contain the TiVo application, according to Simon McGrath, the chief marketing officer for SeaChange's U.K.-based operations.
Virgin and SeaChange recently inked a deal that will keep that piece of the relationship going until 2011. "I have absolutely no doubts that that [agreement] will be extended," McGrath said.
Although TiVo has gotten a foothold at Virgin on next-gen boxes (and possibly through some future retail distribution angles), SeaChange still has a strong position at the MSO, most recently striking a deal to provide dynamic advertising insertion. (See Virgin Presses 'Play' for On Demand Ads.)
Plus, SeaChange and TiVo aren't exactly strangers. In March, the companies struck a deal to put cable video-on-demand services on the TiVo HD-DVR platform without tru2way. In that scenario, the Ethernet connection on the TiVo box will serve as the return path and interface with the SeaChange VoD system. (See TiVo Hooks Up With SeaChange and TiVo Gets More Cable-Ready .)
Other tidbits from TiVo's call:
— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News