Mediaweek reports that Gourmet has launched a channel on TiVo, in the first of what TiVo hopes will be more deals with magazines to bring their Web video content and TV shows to living rooms.
The story says the Gourmet channel will be available from Tivo Central - Tivo's main menu and will feature content like episodes of Diary of a Foodie and its new show, Sara's Weeknight Meals.
I have to give some props to TiVo as a marketing entity. It really doesn't have any business model as it can't offset DirecTV subscribers who fall away with news subscribers willing to pay both for the TiVo hardware and monthly fees. Though TiVo keeps winning the court cases in its battle with Echostar on patent infringement (which seemingly will be appealed in perpetuity) a business model where you make money off your intellectual property (licensing) is not the same as a business model where you sell hardware and services.
But like the rest of the digerati, I loves me some TiVo, but I'm not smoking the crack pipe about its prospects or its prospects as a content distributer. But you read these pieces and think it's all sunshine and blue skies in TiVo-land, and I confess its ability to promote that image in the face of reality is indeed impressive.
While I don't fault the likes of Gourmet for doing this, it seems unlikely that either TiVo or Gourmet will increase their subscriber bases as a result of the deal. Hopefully Gourmet didn't actually have to pay anything.
It's pretty simple, and it doesn't change: TiVo may be the best DVR around, but there's not a market for the best hardware around when free hardware provided by cable and satellite companies is available and considered good enough.
As ever, if you're in the business of competing with free with a fee - it's a bad business to be in. There is a business for licensing the software, but they are still trying to play the stand-alone game.
TiVo hasn't actually issued a release on this yet so it's not clear yet whether Gourmet's content will be available to all TiVo subscribers (roughly 4 million). Just the 1.7 million or so "TiVo owned" subscribers (not DirecTV or other MSOs), just the ~one million or so networked TiVo users, or just the ~half a million TiVo series 3 model subscribers.