YouTube Coming to TiVo, But Only for Under 750,000 Users

Includes: AAPL, GOOG, TIVO
by: Dan Rayburn

Editor's Note: Article Updated 7/21/08

TiVo (NASDAQ:TIVO) and YouTube (NASDAQ:GOOG) announced a deal that brings YouTube content available to TiVo Series 3 customers. While it's good to see TiVo add more content to its box, something I think it has been severely dragging its feet on, unfortunately it won't have any major impact for either company since it is only available for TiVo customers with a Series 3 box connected via broadband. While TiVo has about 4 million subscribers, only about 750,000 of those are on a Series 3. And out of those 750,000, how many are connected to a broadband connection and not just a phone line? I know of many friends who have a Series 3 but only connect to a phone jack as they don't have a TiVo WiFi adapter and their phone jack is near the TiVo and easy to plug into.

While TiVo does not give out exact numbers on how many Series 3 boxes it has sold, TiVo did e-mail me on 7/21 to say that it has 750,000 Series 2 AND Series 3 TiVo's connected via broadband, excluding DTV (DTV) and Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA). Since there are more Series 2s out in the market, the number of Series 3 TiVos that make up the 750,000 number is far lower than that. So while the new YouTube offering is available for less than 750,000 customers, a more realistic number is probably under 300,000 if you figure that half of the broadband connected TiVos, if not more, are Series 2. (NewTeeVee has a video of the new service here)

While this will be nice for some customers, the majority of those who view YouTube content will still do so from a computer and not from the TV. Since the Apple TV (NASDAQ:AAPL) announcement with YouTube, I have not seen any reports by either company as to what kind of viewing numbers YouTube is getting on Apple's device and clearly it is small. This new announcement is a nice to have option, but won't enable TiVo to sell more units and will make no impact in helping YouTube try and make money from eyeballs.

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