TiVo is rolling out a product that will insert pre-roll ads in DVR recordings. It is being tested now, but is going to become part of TiVo’s retail platform. Obviously, this move is a way for TiVo to make additional revenue.
According to Light Reading, TiVo confirmed that the pre-roll ads are skippable, in the same way that customers can skip commercials inserted in TV shows and movies recorded to the DVR. TiVo expects this to be fully rolled-out to all eligible retail devices within 90 days.
The Verge reported that the pre-roll video advertisements before DVR recordings will be for all customers. That includes those who have a lifetime subscription plan. Eligible retail include Tivo Experience 4 (which is the latest software version). The Verge stated that TiVo might extend the advertisements to products on TE3.
It appears that some TiVo customers are displeased by this change, and have taken to the TiVo forums to express themselves. Some are upset that they are paying for a TiVo subscription and will also be having to put up with ads.
My best guess is that there is a possibility for TiVo to lose customers as a result of their decision to insert pre-roll adds. The TiVo Support Twitter account has been responding to plenty of customers who are letting the company know that they dislike the pre-roll ads and do not want them. At a glance, it looks like TiVo is giving a copy-pasted response to everyone.
Personally, I do not own a TiVo. But, I am aware that one of TiVo’s selling points is the ability to watch TV shows without having to sit through the ads. I think TiVo would do better if they did not serve ads to their paying customers. Perhaps TiVo could raise revenue by offering a free version of their service and put the ads there instead.