The Five Spot: Jon Kirchner, CEO, Xperi (Q&A)

Jon Kirchner
Xperi CEO Jon Kirchner (Image credit: Xperi)

A little over a year ago, TiVo, one of the bigger technology brands in the video business, announced plans to separate its products business from its more litigious intellectual property operation.

But very suddenly, former CEO Dan Shull pivoted, leading the company into a $3 billion merger with Xperi, a technology better known for things like car audio.

B+C senior content producer, technology Daniel Frankel recently caught up with
Jon Kirchner, the executive leading the combined company, and asked him to explain the synergies and the plan behind the corporate marriage. (This interview was conducted before Xperi and Comcast on Nov. 9 said they resolved their patent litigation.)

How did the deal with TiVo come together? When Xperi and TiVo met to discuss possible partnerships in mid-2019, it quickly became clear that the best partnership would be a merger. The more we talked, the more we found that the companies complemented each other in terms of current strengths and future vision. By adding TiVo to our family of consumer brands, Xperi improves our position in entertainment and will be able to further accelerate the evolution of home entertainment toward an easier to access, more immersive experience.

What kinds of technology products does Xperi make? Xperi delivers technologies that make entertainment more entertaining and smart devices smarter. Our solutions are delivered via our brands: DTS, HD Radio, IMAX Enhanced and TiVo. We categorize our product business into three categories: Consumer Experience, Connected Car and Pay TV. Consumer Experience includes: TiVo Stream 4K and Discovery solutions, DTS audio and imaging solutions, and TiVo’s data and advertising businesses. Connected Car includes: HD Radio (digital AM-FM radio), DTS Automotive Connected Media, and DTS AutoSense, an occupant monitoring system that enables innovative safety and entertainment experiences in the car. Pay TV includes: classic TiVo guides, TiVo DVR and IPTV solutions.

What is the synergy between Xperi and TiVo? There are multiple areas of synergy across Xperi brands. The most obvious, and perhaps most immediately actionable, is combining Xperi’s immersive entertainment tech (DTS and IMAX Enhanced) with TiVo’s world-class innovations that help consumers find, watch and enjoy the entertainment they love. Another compelling opportunity is in the vehicle where Xperi can combine our DTS and HD Radio technologies with TiVo’s world-class metadata offering to deliver a fantastic connected media solution. The team is focused on making these combinations happen. I cannot wait to show the world what we have in development.

What is the opportunity for Xperi in the video streaming market now that it owns TiVo? The streaming market is huge and growing quickly. We can see in TiVo’s data that viewing hours are up significantly over the last six months. Streaming has been gaining share for years. The pandemic accelerated this trend towards streaming entertainment at home. The more time consumers spend with streaming devices, the more demanding they become for easy access and high quality. TiVo is well-positioned. I believe TiVo has created the best streaming product in the market with TiVo Stream 4K. The TiVo Stream 4K content-first interface incorporates TiVo’s best thinking gained from decades of experience helping consumers find, watch and enjoy content they love, plus the best of Android TV. There are opportunities for DTS and IMAX Enhanced in streaming as well. Consumers are looking for high-quality experiences. DTS and IMAX Enhanced are both premium entertainment brands that consumers trust and desire.

Can you discuss your patent dispute with Comcast?  Xperi will not comment on ongoing litigation. When customers use our innovations or create their own solutions based on our innovations without a commercial relationship in place with Xperi, we work to negotiate a fair agreement. When we cannot come to an agreement regarding the value of our innovations in others’ products, we ask the courts to judge what’s fair and appropriate. 

Bonus Five

What shows are you binge-watching right now? I am not really a binge-watcher. When I do make the time to sit back and enjoy, I’m probably watching a movie or live sports.

 What streaming services do you subscribe to? I subscribe to all the leading streaming services. I also have connected with and occasionally use free AVOD services like Pluto TV, Tubi and IMDb TV.

What do you use to stream video? We have multiple setups at home but since the May product launch, I’ve been spending a lot of time with TiVo Stream 4K.

Which technology that you use every day do you like the best? Probably Zoom. 

How many times have you left the house this week? I try and get outside for a while every day. We’re fortunate to have great weather in Southern California which makes it easy.

Daniel Frankel

Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!