nScreenMedia OTT multiscreen media analysis

Four reasons why the TiVo Aereo offer won’t work

TiVo Roamio OTA

TiVo is trying to persuade former subscribers to the now defunct Aereo TV service to sign up for the Roamio OTA. Though the company is making a very special offer for these individuals, its doubtful this TiVo Aereo offer will get many bites.

TiVo purchased the assets, including the customer list, of Aereo TV after the company declared bankruptcy. The company is now trying to entice former Aereo customers with a special offer on TiVo DVR. For $19.99 a month and a two year agreement customers will get a Roamio OTA (over the air) DVR and a TiVo Stream, which allows a user to watch TiVo on their connected devices.

Make no mistake, this is a pretty good deal. Normally a Roamio OTA plus TiVo Stream goes for $170, with $14.95 monthly service on top. Customers stand to save $80 with the deal, but the offer still misses the mark with the predominantly millennial Aereo audience. Here a four reasons why.

That commitment thing

The deal with Aereo was a typical OTT service offer. A customer could get started with a basic DVR service, with 20 hours of storage, for just $8 a month and no long term commitment. An upgraded package was available with 60 hours of storage for $12 a month. TiVo wants former Aereo customers to commit to a two relationship. Aside from the fact that most of us don’t like doing this the Aereo audience may have a particular problem with it.

14% of people move house in the US each year and the age group most affected by this are the 20-30 year olds. With Aereo, this was no problem. If it didn’t work in the new location simply cancel service. With TiVo this could be a big problem. Will the apartment have decent over-the-air reception? If not, a subscriber could be left paying for something they can’t use.

The antenna

One of the beautiful things about Aereo was a user didn’t need an antenna. That meant no fiddling with an internal antenna or climbing on the roof to get the best reception. Many of Aereo’s customers can’t really use an antenna anyway. Some live in a building that prohibits roof access, or an internal antenna just doesn’t work. And some just don’t want to deal with it. Oh, and TiVo didn’t include a decent indoor antenna in the package to help them over the hump.


Spending $20 a month to duplicate a service an Aereo customer was getting for $8 could feel a little expensive. When a user takes into account the fact that they are committed for two years, they’ll soon realize they’re on the hook for $480. HBO tried this approach in Scandinavia with its Nordic service and almost nobody signed up. You can bet the total cost will be a significant barrier to TiVo adoption for many.


Unlike when Aereo first launched, today there are several alternatives for people to consider that provide live TV. Sling TV is $20 a month with 21 premium TV channels and has no commitment. Operators are launching skinny bundles, often thrown in for free with broadband for a year. And none of these solution require an antenna.

Why it matters

TiVo is trying to appeal to former Aereo customers with a bargain DVR deal for $20 a month and 2 year commitment.

However, it looks like the offer is not well targeted.

The complexity of the antenna, 2 year commitment, cost and competition mean many Aereo customers are likely to shun the offer.


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