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TiVo: 7.4m subs but many claims outstanding

TiVo, now close to finalising its take-over by Rovi (likely to wrap this coming week), stated that at the end of July it had 7.4 million TiVo subscribers (made up of 971,000 of Tivo-owned subs, and 6.38 million via MSOs).

However, despite the impending take-over by Rovi Corp, Tivo still has a slew of legal challenges pending. The details were released in the company’s 10-Q statement to the SEC, on August 29th.

Top of the list are potential Class Action suits from shareholders unhappy with the Rovi deal. Outstanding actions include a complaint against Samsung for patent breaches. Jury selection on this will take place in March 2017. Samsung is counter-suing.  Another action concerns Dolby Labs and its licensing fees. Dolby, in essence, is alleging that TiVo owes $1.7 million in unpaid royalties and another $8.7 million in regard to fees owed by third-party users of TiVo technology. TiVo denies the claims.

One grumble that might yet create a few headaches is from subscribers who signed up – and paid a premium price for – TiVo’s “lifetime subscription” deal. There are some 3500 active Series-1 TiVo units in use and TiVo will cease support for these on September 29th.

There is also uncertainty over TiVo’s crucial programme guides, usually provided by Gracenote but that agreement expired on May 19th and Gracenote has declined to extend any sort of short-term extension. TiVo in its 10-Q says it may be unable to provide a service to clients unless a deal can be struck. There is a transition agreement in place with Rovi, but if anything goes wrong with the Rovi transaction any new agreement with Gracenote would be “at a significant increase in costs” says the 10-Q.

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