Like Tim Tebow, TiVo’s the ‘Underdog’

NEW YORK — Although TiVo is certainly getting more TV playing time these days than its new spokesman, Tim Tebow, the company identifies with his persona as a talented underdog, president and CEO Tom Rogers said.

Tebow, the New York Jets quarterback who’s largely been sidelined this season, is “a real underdog who performs when he gets out there … We identify with him,” said Rogers, speaking at MCN/B&C OnScreen Media Summit.

At the event, Rogers screened two of TiVo’s new television ads featuring Tebow chatting on a couch with precocious children. The spots began airing last week.

After the cable industry “outright rejected TiVo” several years ago and some had written off the company, “we’ve obviously turned that around and proved it wrong,” Rogers said.

TiVo now has deals with nine of the 21 biggest cable MSOs in the United States, after recent wins with Cable One, Mediacom Communications and Midcontinent Communications. Those join its roster of other partners, including Suddenlink Communications and Charter Communications.

So far, TiVo’s biggest cable partner is the U.K.’s Virgin Media, which has about 1 million subscribers with TiVo-based DVRs, representing 30% of its video base. While other pay TV providers have not delivered anything close to that number, TiVo said other MSOs have attained double-digit penetration.

TiVo has about 2% share of the DVR market, according to Leichtman Research Group. Most DVRs in the U.S. are supplied by Cisco Systems and Google’s Motorola Mobility — both of which TiVo is suing for patent infringement.