NZ TiVo launch takes the world’s most popular media device to a new level with on-demand entertainment

Auckland, NEW ZEALAND, 29 October 2009 – Hybrid Television Services (ANZ) Pty Limited, the exclusive licensee of TiVo® in New Zealand and Australia, today announced that the highly anticipated TiVo brand will reveal its new product and on-demand service for New Zealanders before any other country.

TiVo is the world’s most popular media device, giving viewers recording control and playback choice in one famously user-friendly interface. In addition to the TiVo device providing control of free-to-air digital terrestrial television (Freeview|HD compatible), the all-new broadband portal, CASPA™ On-Demand, will have its international debut in New Zealand.

CASPA On-Demand is a world of broadband entertainment including new release movies, hit TV shows for the whole family as well as music videos and concerts. As TiVo is not a subscription service customers can “pay-as-they-use” for CASPA instead of paying monthly fees for shows they do not watch.  The broadband content on CASPA is provided as pay-per-view, advertiser funded or free of charge.

The New Zealand launch bundle, sold exclusively through Telecom from November 6, comprises a TiVo 320 Media Device and the Home Networking Package, which enables the customer to transfer TV recordings from their TiVo to their PC or portable device (i.e. PSP or iTouch), as well as view home movies, pictures and listen to their music on the TV.

“TiVo will provide the very best of broadband entertainment and allow Kiwis the freedom to enjoy top-rated movies on the television without impacting their monthly broadband data allowance,” said Ralph Brayham, Telecom director of home services.

“We are absolutely thrilled to premiere this new offering to New Zealanders. With the proliferation of digital free-to-air channels, New Zealanders should have more choice than ever before in how they view, pay for and enjoy their TV,” said Robbee Minicola, CEO of Hybrid TV.

“A key factor in our decision to obtain the licence rights for TiVo in these two countries was to enable broadband features on the television versus the computer. We knew that TiVo was the leader in controlling live television with its award winning features like Season Pass™ recordings and WishList™ searches but we sought to exploit broadband to take the product to the next level. We have achieved that with the CASPA On-Demand service.

“The relationship with Telecom ensures its broadband customers who use the CASPA service will not experience any impact on their monthly broadband data allowance. This is a significant benefit to consumers and explains why only Telecom broadband customers have access to CASPA On-Demand. New Zealanders who are not with Telecom for their broadband can still enjoy the TiVo product but will not have access to CASPA,” said Ms Minicola.

Pricing and availability:

The TiVo media device is available exclusively through Telecom from November 6. It is available in Telecom retail stores and online at www.telecom.co.nz/mytivo

Launch Bundle – NZ$920 includes TiVo 320 Media Device, Wireless Adaptor and free Home Networking Package – on sale until 24 January 2010.

When TiVo goes on sale in a weeks time, although you’ll be able to watch Prime and Maori Television you won’t be able to view the listing information or program any shows to record from either of the channels.

Both Maori Television and Sky have refused to allow their listings to appear in the TiVo EPG.  Some are speculating that Maori Television’s decision is based on the 2011 Rugby World Cup broadcast rights but the official line is that there just wasn’t a compelling business case.

Sky are “slightly uncomfortable” with TiVo’s exclusive arrangement with Telecom while they prefer to partner with all internet service providers.  On top of that, TiVo isn’t planning on measuring ratings data until 2012 which would likely be the incentive both broadcasters needed in order for the scenario to change.

It may only be an agreement in principle but TV3 and C4 will have their listings included in the EPG when TiVo goes to market in November.

Of course, there was never really any doubt.

Prime’s listings on the other hand are yet to be confirmed although you’d have to be fairly brave to bet against one of the hottest gadgets going to market with an incomplete EPG.

TVNZ today announced the acquisition of a 33% stake in Hybrid Television Services (ANZ) Pty Ltd, the exclusive licensee of TiVo® in Australia and New Zealand, from Seven Media Group.  Seven Media Group retains the remaining 67% of Hybrid Television Services.

Hybrid Television Services launched TiVo in Australia in July 2008.  TVNZ’s investment will support the launch of the media device in New Zealand, scheduled for later this year.

The TiVo media device allows viewers to receive all free-to-air digital TV channels as well as broadband content, services and games.  Compatible with New Zealand Freeview HD broadcasts, TiVo will enable viewers to record their favourite shows, pause and rewind live TV, watch movies on demand and access services such as pizza ordering, shopping and weather forecasts through their television.

TVNZ’s investment has prompted the formation of a Board of Directors at Hybrid Television Services, chaired by James Warburton, Chief Sales and Digital Officer for Seven Media Group.  Rick Ellis, CEO of TVNZ, Rodney Parker, CFO of TVNZ and Bruce McWilliam, Commercial Director for Seven Media Group complete the board.

Rick Ellis, CEO of TVNZ commented; “The TiVo media device is a global leader and our investment in Hybrid Television Services is an investment in the future commercial success of TVNZ.  It marks a further step in our transition from a traditional broadcaster to a multi-platform digital media company with diverse income streams, operating in the Australasian market.”

James Warburton, Chief Sales and Digital Officer for Seven Media Group commented; “It is rewarding that after surveying the market a broadcaster of the calibre of TVNZ has agreed that TiVo is the foremost product to further its digital initiative in New Zealand.  We are proud to have them as our partners in this Australasian business. TiVo experienced outstanding Christmas sales and continues to lead the category in DVR sales in Australia. This investment from TVNZ and their involvement on the board of Hybrid Television Services will ensure that the company is uniquely positioned for success in both countries.”

Tom Rogers, President and CEO of TiVo Inc. added; “Hybrid TV has achieved great things and exceeded expectations with the launch of the TiVo media device in Australia, further demonstrating the advanced interactive capabilities of TiVo.  Now with the TVNZ investment, we’re thrilled to be working with the number one broadcaster in both the Australian and New Zealand markets.”

For more see: http://www.mytivo.co.nz/

If rumors are true that TVNZ have paid A$15m ($19m) to buy a one third stake in Tivo’s NZ and Australian business from the Seven Network in Australia then things could be about to get interesting in the PVR market.

While Sky have their MySkyHDi units, Freeview – the consortium of which TVNZ is part of – have also recently launched a Digital Television Recorder (DTR).  How Tivo would fit into the Freeview arrangement would certainly be an interesting case to watch develop as the players currently supplying may come under enormous pressure from the strongest brand in the ondemand TV recording market.

Tivo may position TVNZ well for the future as things begin to shift to an online and ondemand environment and possibly assist them in staving off the growing threat from pay television.

TVNZ is trying to move from being a traditional television broadcaster to being a digital media company.  Whether or not Tivo would help them bridge that divide is certainly up for debate.


TiVo coming to NZ

TiVo is coming to Australia and New Zealand! Channel Seven in Australia has signed an agreement to bring TiVo to Australia in 2008.

Under the mutually-exclusive agreement, Seven will lead the creation of the digital platform to enable TiVo’s digital video recorder and service, including the award-winning TiVo user interface.

The platform will be available for use by other broadcasters and broadband content owners to create a compelling, interactive, free to air digital terrestrial television offering.

The TiVo Service will be available across Australia and will include internationally recognized TiVo features like SeasonPass recordings and WishList searches and allow users to access broadband content on their TV.

No details were mentioned about the New Zealand launch, but it is expected that it will partner with Freeview here as a competitor to Sky’s MySky box.

Read the full press release »