Content providers and streaming services looking for new ways to break out should find opportunity in TiVo’s new product, Stream 4K, which provides viewers with a user experience that collects and curates their content from across various apps.
“We set out to solve some of the modern viewing challenges for audiences, so we looked at the Friday night problem for starters,” said Scott Maddux, TiVo’s VP, business development. “Viewers pick up the remote control and go down various app rabbit holes, looking for something to watch. From a customer point of view, they are often less concerned with these app environments—they just want to watch the shows and movies they want to watch.
“Anybody trying to manage multiple subscription services and trying to gain control of their television experience across multiple sources is going to find this product very valuable.”
Essentially, Stream 4K aggregates all of a viewer’s content from across a variety of free and subscription apps—including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Tubi, HBO Now, Disney+, Sling TV, Pluto TV, Google Play and more. It then reorganizes all of that content into a new user experience that is more responsive to and indicative of viewers’ preferences. Instead of displaying content on an app-by-app basis, it focuses on the content itself, although Stream 4K does include logos of the services on which each piece of content can be found.
“I think it comes down to putting the right show in front of the right audience,” Maddux said. “When we do that, we are able to drive value for those content owners. Content partners are merchandised across the TiVo platform in such a way that drives and improves traffic significantly.”
TiVo also is working with its MVPD partners to incorporate the Stream 4K interface into their set-top boxes, so content providers that partner with TiVo will get additional reach across those subscriber bases.
Beyond all of those paid services, Stream 4K users also get access to TiVo’s free advertising-supported video on demand (AVOD) service, Tivo+, which includes such content providers as Tastemade, Food 52, Funny or Die and many more.
“TiVo has been in the space for a long time as a platform, but we’ve never been a content network until now,” Maddux said. Tivo+ also offers an advertising platform as well as content partnerships for providers.
For example, if Pluto TV, which just set a content deal with TiVo+ in May, wants to market an upcoming James Bond movie through a marathon of Bond movies on its service, it can work with TiVo to spotlight that programming event at the top of the user guide, specifically targeting Bond fans.
“We’ve seen viewership increase 200 to 300 percent based on our merchandising of those TiVo platforms, specifically on TiVo+,” said Maddux.
When users set up Stream 4K, they make selections to help determine their preferences, choosing between two shows to help the service learn what they like. They can also create their own personalized network, adding their favorite shows and movies to TiVo’s My Shows stream. TiVo instantly adds that movie or all available episodes of that show to the My Shows feed. Users select which apps they subscribe to, leaving unchecked those they don’t so that content does not appear on the guide.
“Whatever platform a show is on shouldn’t matter to the consumer, they should be getting a content-first experience,” said Maddux. “On Stream 4K, the shows, movies and content are front and center.”
The TiVo Stream 4K user interface also offers an overall TV guide so users can scroll through live TV to see what’s on, and it divides content into My Shows, TV, movies, sports and kids to make searching and sorting easier. It also offers viewers such options as “Trending Shows,” revealing what other viewers are watching right now, and then makes additional recommendations based on those trending programs.
If users want to access apps that don’t yet have licensing agreements with TiVo Stream 4K, they can exit the main experience and head to the apps guide, where they will find a more traditional user interface.
Stream 4K is a simple dongle and small box that users plug into their TV’s HDMI port. Depending on the user’s video subscriptions and television, it will display programming in 4K video and do some up-converting for programming offered in standard definition or high definition broadcasts in less than 4K. It also comes with its own branded TiVo “peanut” remote.