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TiVo Turns to Adobe to Modernize e-Commerce Biz

Why This Matters: With retail sales still a big part of its business, TiVo is looking to update its e-commerce efforts.

Now involved across licensing intellectual property, developing and selling content discovery applications, as well as metadata and targeted advertising tools, TiVo finds itself at a complex corporate crossroads. Its management is currently weighing a splitup of the company and a possible sale of some assets.

Of course, going back 20 years, the business was pretty simple, straightforward — and revolutionary. In 1999, it was merely about selling the first-ever digital video recorders to the consumer market.

These days, TiVo still generates about 10% of its nearly $1 billion in annual revenue through good old fashioned retail channels. These days, that’s a business that’s heavily reliant on e-commerce.

But when Ted Malone, VP of consumer products and services for TiVo, joined years ago, he encountered a technology backbone burdened by what he describes as “20 years of code.”

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TiVo’s website, where it sells items like Bolt DVRs, was built on a custom-built Drupal content management system. Anytime the marketing department wanted to make changes—to anything, no matter how small — the IT department needed to step in.

“The website was a disaster,” Malone said.

It was the same for product pricing, inventory, ordering and fulfillment, billing and accounts, all of which were built on various SAP components.

Malone detailed his unit’s transition to tools including Adobe Experience Manager and Magento Commerce in a presentation delivered at the Adobe Summit in Las Vegas. He synopsized that presentation in a conversation with B&C.

Through Experience Manager, TiVo combined its CMS and digital asset management together in one application with a native connection to Adobe cloud services.

“Now, if there’s a typo on a website, we can have one of our marketing people change that in our Adobe web-authorizing system,” Malone explained. “Previously, we had to go to IT and have a contractor change code.”

Another portion of TiVo’s Adobe integration included Magento Commerce. According to Malone, this tool allows TiVo to segment its marketing to two different “psychographics”— cord-cutters and the “cable centric.”

Magento also lets TiVo more easily match any pricing for TiVo products if another retailer is advertising them for less.

“It was previously difficult for us to price match without a lot of effort,” he explained. “Now, we can do it on the fly.”

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!