Kara Swisher interviewed TiVo CEO Tom Rogers at D6 this morning. Swisher opened the discussion by observing that TiVo invented the DVR and still had the most compelling user experience, but that business success has proven elusive. In the tradition of all the CEOs who presented at D, Rogers preferred to look on the bright side and pointed out that TiVo had a bright future of delivering content from both the cable networks and the Internet. Also, while the networks have been worried over the ability of consumers to skip commercials, TiVo could offer those same networks detailed information on what commercials people did watch. He said that this data revealed some surprising insights, such as that the most watched commercials were not necessarily those on the most-watched shows.
While TiVo has spawned many imitators among the cable MSOs who build DVR capability into the set-top box, the company has been successful in striking deals with some of those companies to run TiVo's software in the box, and has been successful in suing those who do not.
Rogers dodged a question from Bob Frankston about how whether TiVo was still relevant when consumers could avail themselves of more innovative and DRM-free content on the Internet by pointing out that large screen TVs were still selling well and would be the home entertainment vehicle for some time. Also, TiVo is connecting to Internet video services such as Amazon's to that viewers could watch that material on their TV sets. As he put it, his own children don't distinguish between live TV and material that has been either stored from live or downloaded.