Integrated search is one of the next, and most challenging frontiers for both online video and TV Everywhere. And according to TiVo CEO Tom Rogers, Web search engine providers like Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) or Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) won't lead the way.
"One of the great values of having all that content there is people don't know what's on AMC vs. HBO vs. Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) vs. Hulu," Rogers told an audience of investors at the Needham Interconnect Conference Tuesday in New York City. "Downton Abbey is a great example. Each season of Downton Abbey can actually be found on a different service: Hulu vs. Netflix vs. Amazon Prime (NASDAQ: AMZN)."
But developing an integrated search engine that crosses all those platforms? "Google as the provider of the search interface is unlikely to develop," Rogers added.
His reasoning is that, with an interest in growing its own online video properties like YouTube and its Chromecast device, Google--like traditional cable operators--wouldn't be likely to develop a service-agnostic user guide.
"I don't think anyone among traditional operators as such, they don't have a particular interest in seeing Google or Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) smack in the middle of that packaging," he said.
Naturally, Rogers feels that TiVo has the best chance of developing a cross-platform interface that viewers can actually use. "That's one of the reasons for the success we have, is we have been found to be incredibly proficient in what is a very difficult and delicate area, but also a trusted partner where people are not worried about us siphoning away the video subscribers the operator has developed."
TiVo has inked deals this year with 12 domestic cable operators, including Cable One and Suddenlink, to provide a TiVo box that integrates Netflix along with their cable offerings.
It's a move that other equipment vendors like Arris are moving swiftly to emulate. But TiVo already has 1.2 million U.S. cable subscribers using the integrated service, and it's collecting on average $2 per subscriber per month from operators. While still in the early stages of its rollout to Tier 2 operators, Rogers said the domestic MSO market has the potential to be a $100 million market for TiVo.
He chalks it up to TiVo's belief that digital video experiences should be as integrated and easy to access as digital music is today.
"Everybody's been saying for the last several years, OTT services are going to kill cable and linear channels. And we said, why is that the natural state of the world? The natural state of the world is for all those services to be offered in a single integrated way for the consumer. That is beginning to develop and Netflix is leading in that regard. I believe Hulu, Amazon, and others will follow from that."
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