Why the New EchoStar Should Buy TiVo

12 thoughts on “Why the New EchoStar Should Buy TiVo”

  1. TiVo has a poison pill in place. If they don’t want to be purchased, it would be rough for the buyer.

    I wouldn’t say TiVo has missed place-shifting, that market is still extremely small. TiVo could join that market. But does it make sense to build that into their DVRs and raise the HW costs to provide the capability, when a very small number of users would use it? (And I say that as a TiVo and Slingbox owner.)

  2. There are lots of reasons why Echostar would want to buy TiVo, but what incentive do they have to sell. This is the more important question to be asking because TiVo has a poison pill in place until at least 2010, so they are the ones that get to decide if/who they want to be bought by. By selling themselves to Dish, they would not only be letting go of the company at a dirt cheap price (even with a 25% premium), a merger would also potentially restrict TiVo to only Dish subscribers, instead of being able to forge relationships with all of the cable and satellite companies. It would be one thing, if TiVo was broke and needed the cash in order to survive, but they’ve got a decent amount of cash on hand, are running close to breakeven, they have a plan to raise more money through a debt/equity underwriting and plus they have a $100+ million judgment that Dish will likely be on the hook for. Considering how far they’ve taken their lawsuit, I don’t see how TiVo would benefit at all from selling out at this point. While I would agree that Dish would benefit from buying TiVo, I just don’t see the case for why TiVo would benefit from selling.

  3. OM – a lot of people would like to buy TiVo (or should buy TiVo). But TiVo feels they are worth a lot more than current valuation – and I would suggest, the Pundits agree with TiVo’s assumption. Echostar pulling off a TiVo acquisition is speculative and highly unlikely. TiVo’s IP is worth a whole lot more down the road, as the market matures – and TiVo finetunes its business models.

    As I commented in your post when the news of Echostar split first broke (Dec 6, 2007) http://gigaom.com/2007/12/06/echostar-now-dish-network-spins-off-slingbox-set-top-biz/ – “Missing here in this post is the TiVo litigation with Echostar – and most likely the catalyst for spinning off the STB business – and subsequently the primary driver for the Sling acquisition.”.

  4. @G

    I think the point I am trying to make here is that these two companies can mutually benefit. I am not sure about the market cap of the new EchoStar, but it could be a good combination.

    Can TiVo get a higher valuation in the future? I don’t know. Hopefully it does for the sake of its share holders.

    Thanks again for reminding me on that lawsuit stuff.

  5. OM – I agree with you – setting aside the reality of a TiVo acquisition – TiVo/Echostar combination makes a whole lot of sense. It will be more about market share and dominance, less so due to technology – there are many at TiVo who do not think so well of Sling’s technology (that debate will soon arrive on the front pages once EchoStar spinoffs are completed).

    However, an even bigger holdup in any deal is the current relationship that TiVo has with operators like Comcast – a hard fought “fight for respect” and pennies on the dollar for service agreements with Cable Cos. Any combination with TiVo would require the the blessings of the “grandmasters” in the Service Provider world – where any sign of a bigger better solution will be beat to a pulp – ie. commoditized for business interests of the Service Providers. However, as the FCC pushes and succeeds in mandating STBs sold in retail stores – a day all of us hope will arrive soon – it will make is easier for the TiVo’s of the world to be masters of thier device domains – where only the consumers matter.

    In any case – the “movie” that is “TiVo will be/should be/could be acquired” has many more sequels to come – the final one hopefully in the best interest of the consumer.

  6. Great idea – and would win a lot of hearts from the consumer.

    What are TiVo and/or Echostar doing in trying to become “TiVo for Web Video”? I am surprised TiVo hasn’t opened up their platform and struck more deals in this area. Rocketboom happened, then what? It is still too difficult to watch my favorite web shows on a TV (and yes, quality is there if you want it – HD, great shows, etc.).

  7. @G – Yes, i have explored that, but with 2 years between “News” and limited capabilities, it doesn’t exactly make me want to go and download their SDK. Seems more like a token SDK than something they are seriously behind.

  8. As Forrester’s analyst covering TiVo, I have predicted at various times that AOL Time Warner, Liberty Media, and Apple should buy TiVo. All these predictions made sense at the time and I know some bids were made (but not accepted.)

    I gave up on this gig but Om, good luck to you. All I can tell you is that logic hasn’t guided this discussion in the last 7 years. Maybe it will work this time.

  9. Dish doesn’t need to buy Tivo to benefit (Tivo wouldn’t sell anyway). All they have to do is sign a deal with Tivo to make an integrated HD Tivo for Dish. There are so many Directv customers that would jump in a heartbeat. Once Directv stopped supporting Tivo (yes, you can still use it, but you can’t watch the new HD programming with it), there are many people just itching to leave. The only thing preventing me from leaving Directv is the NFL Sunday Ticket. But I would move to Dish if they would offer Tivo (Cable? No thanks. Been there. Done that).

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