M+E Daily

TDS Telecom to Roll Out TiVo’s Next-Gen Platform

TiVo scored another client win for its Next-Gen Platform — this time Madison, Wis.-based TDS Telecom, which said July 17 it will roll out the new TiVo-powered video solution to new and existing TV subscribers in both cable operations and wireline service areas.

But the TDS rollout may not start until 2019 and will begin with one of TDS’s major markets first, according to Pat Ferguson, its head of video product management. 

TDS is the “first major telco customer” to partner with TiVo on the Next-Gen Platform, Michael Hawkey, SVP and GM of user experience at TiVo, told the Media & Entertainment Services Alliance (MESA) during a phone briefing ahead of the announcement. “Stay tuned” for additional Next-Gen Platform deals, he said.

TiVo announced the launch of its new platform at CES in January, saying it’s a “future-proof solution” that’s “powered by cloud services for rapid innovation” and will enable TV service operators to “effectively adapt to a rapidly changing market and emerging customer segments with a complete set of unified products and versatile deployment options across QAM, hybrid” and Internet Protocol Television (IPTV).

Since that announcement, Service Electric Cablevision said it would roll out TiVo’s platform to its subscribers.

“Right now, we’ve got all the vendors together in Madison and we are in the process of putting together our project plans, so unfortunately I don’t have a timeline for you right now till that plan gets a little bit more laid out,” Ferguson told MESA.

“However, we should have some updates in the not so distant future,” he said. It “likely won’t be this year” that the “staggered and sequential” rollout, “starting with one of our bigger markets,” begins he said, without identifying any specific market. The launch will then move on “through the entirety of our cable and existing wireline footprint,” he said, adding TDS plans to start “zeroing in on the TiVo product for new customer adds moving forward” on the cable and wireline sides.

On the wireline side, “one of the things we’re excited about too is that our existing Mediaroom footprint only covers about 27 percent of our existing wireline service addresses, and so the possibilities of where we can take this outside of our existing footprint are really exciting,” he noted.

“For us as a company, one of the things we are firm believers in is the power of the customer bundle” and, after conducting a lot of analysis, it believes video “plays a very critical role” in the bundle, including for customer growth targets, he said.

On the wireline side of TDS’s business, the company now has about 50,000 Mediaroom subscribers, while on the cable front, it has “upwards” of 70,000-80,000 residential legacy video subscribers, he said, adding: “Ultimately, for us, we believe that investing” in next-generation video platforms is “something that is necessary for us to maintain our growth trajectory.”

The TiVo platform will allow TDS to “introduce an overarching solution that really bridges the gap between traditional linear video and also [adhere] to the changing demand and video consumption habits from the consumer base, with an application-based” over-the-top (OTT) solution, he said.

TiVo has a “proven track record” in North America for “being able to take a solution and provide [it] to many, many operators at the same time,” Hawkey said during the phone briefing, noting it’s “not a new concept for TiVo to be supplying a similar solution across multiple operators at the same time.” For example, “we do that well today with our multiroom DVR systems and solutions,” and this is the “next logical step” in the progression to more Internet Protocol (IP) solutions, he said.

TiVo’s product portfolio “provides the flexibility, scalability and next-gen” IPTV services that “will enable TDS Telecom to better anticipate and address constantly evolving consumer behaviors and needs,” he said in a news release.

TiVo’s Next-Gen Platform will enable TDS to provide “hyper-personalization, advanced search and recommendations, voice control, seamless discovery across linear, over-the-top, on-demand” and cloud-digital video recorder (DVR) platforms, with “superior multiscreen capabilities via a cloud-based, device-agnostic service,” the companies said in the news release. The new solution “will help TDS reduce churn and drive customer engagement,” the companies said.

TDS’s video solution will include a full suite of IPTV solutions, including Internet Protocol Video on Demand (IPVOD), IP linear, start-over/catch-up and Network Video Digital Recorder (nDVR), according to TDS and TiVo. Nokia is providing the backend content delivery network (CDN), powered by the Nokia Velocrix Media Delivery Platform.

TiVo’s Next-Gen Platform will “power a consistent experience across a host of clients including managed” Android TV set-top boxes (STBs) and unmanaged consumer-owned streamer devices including Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV, as well as iOS and Android mobile devices, TiVo and TDS said. 

That will “not only enable TDS to deliver the ultimate entertainment experience to customers where and how they want to watch it, but also help capture new market segments with differentiated business models,” the companies said.