Tivo: a Case Study

The case study was all about the launch of TiVo and the consumer behavior around the product. TiVo was launched in 1999 and didn’t quite receive the response the company had hoped for. As a result the marketing team led an effort to further understand the nature of TiVo’s appeal for existing and potential customers and to encourage other participators such as advertisers and television network to take accountability for TiVo’s relevance in the lives of consumers.

The bulk of TiVo’s customer base went from young males to affluent families with the children. The consumer behavior illustrated by the case was all about changing attitudes to reflect perceived enhancements in lifestyle. TiVo users quickly formed emotional attachments to the products as they came to the products as improving their relationships with their families and saving them time for things they enjoyed. A large part of this case study involved consumers as individuals and their attitudes toward TiVo.

After launching in 1999, TiVo received lackluster sales attributed to not only lack of awareness, but just an overall lack of relevant meaning and definition. The TiVo marketing team saw this as a chance to change consumer attitude and reposition the brand in the marketplace as a smart, friendly service that could improve user lifestyle. TiVo recognized early on that users viewed their product as more than just a technology, and even held deep emotional responses to.

The attitude is made up of three components: affect, behavior, and cognition and marketers believed there was a gap between cognition and behavior in TiVo consumers: a gap between what consumers understood and what they acted upon. In 2001 TiVo conducted an attitude survey, which they intended to go beyond previous surveys to together information about the deeper impact of TiVo on people’s lives. The survey confirmed that the marketing team had positioned themselves in the market as a life enhancing product and managed to change consumer’s attitudes: 77. % believed TiVo had made their life better in some shape or form. I think there is such a sharp contrast between the inertia of prospects and the evangelical zeal of TiVo users because prospects are still viewing TiVo as a frivolous, unnecessary want or desire and not a basic need. The TiVo user switched from an early, young male adopter to affluent consumers with families who before probably couldn’t watch TV in the manner that they desired, TiVo fixed this problem and now has become a basic necessity for them, something that makes their lives easier.

A “couch potato” might site his or her reluctance to buy TiVo as not seeing a need for it. The couch potato might not see a need for TiVo beyond recording something, which they already watching or could record with a VCR. For these users TiVo should emphasize the ability of the user to fast forward through boring commercials, pause and play at their own convenience, and reward their favorite parts. Today the company could appeal to couch potato prospects as a device that would allow them to “do it all” with just one box on the comfort of their couch: cable, movies, web, and music.

An “evangelist” might list a cause of reluctance from their friend as a perceived fear of user friendliness. Some people might view the device as intimidating; especially those who don’t see themselves as being technologically savvy. In looking at the fact that 38% of TiVo users report an annual income of $100,000 and higher supports the hypothesis that TiVo is viewed as more of a frivolous want and not a need. This high income is obviously over represented when compared to overall U. S. population; the average person is going to have less of a disposable income.

The statistics on education also support my hypothesis about prospects being intimidated by user-friendliness. In 2001 48% of TiVo users reported having a completed college degree of some sort, this over represents itself by 140% in the overall U. S. population. TiVo users seem to be more interested in electronics and science and technology, which supports the hypothesis that they are probably perceived as more technologically savvy than the average prospect. Other insights derived from the data are that TiVo users seem to do a lot more traveling than the average American.

This could improve the growth of TiVo by directing them in what areas and locations to place advertisements. Airports would be a great location to place print ads or maybe even hold product demonstrations for travelers who are laid over and have time to kill. As it tried to grow into a mass brand TiVo faced several challenges. The first challenge was creating awareness of not only the brand, but the product as well. In their efforts to create a buzz the TiVo marketing team soon found the challenge of even defining and transmitting clear and relevant meaning for TiVo.

Although Microsoft early on was thought to be a threat, their dropping out of the market proved to harm TiVo as they no longer had a large and reputable corporation to promote the category and create even more awareness. In the form of competition TiVo probably lost a lot of market share when ReplayTV re-entered the market with high-end PVRs and their promise to produce a line of affordable PVRs for the mass market. The fact that TiVo was once exclusively sold through Best Buy probably hurt the company in the beginning as well.