Thursday, 3 March 2011

TiVo talk from Virgin Media's Earnings Conference Call for Q4 & Full Year 2010

The transcript of Virgin Media's Earnings Conference Call for Q4 & Full Year 2010 is online, below are a few TiVo-related comments from Virgin Media's CEO, Neil Berkett:
The power of our fiber optic network allows us to create long-term sustainable network advantage, it gives us advantage in connectivity. We are now seeing how we can exploit that advantage in application, read TiVo, and you will see increasingly us taking a position in terms of convergence, it is the true digital story, and within that, we've continued to expand our video-on-demand, our HD, clearly we've launched TiVo, we've driven contract mobile through our market and as I've said, we've begun the journey of fixed mobile convergence.

....Clearly, the launch of TiVo, the launch of 100 megabits per second, more video-on-demand, more HD, what we're doing around convergence with mobile credits will continue, and that's what generated our growth to date.

 ....So it's no coincidence for example, that you've seen us launch our upgrade from 20 to 30 meg and we allowed our 20 meg customers to upgrade to 30 for a good 6 weeks before we launched the 30 meg to the marketplace. Sounds simple, but in the same way as it is only Virgin Media customers that are enjoying TiVo today and then we will launch TiVo to the marketplace in the second quarter.

And it all leverages back to our connectivity advantage, and it's not just about broadband. As we discussed at the Investor Day back in December, we have significant spectrum advantage. On average, 750 megahertz of spectrum into the home and the wonderful thing about technology today, if you need to realign it like shutting down analog channels to be able to run more HD channels or increase your bandwidth for upstream or create another IP pipe for the back of your TiVo box or enhance your video-on-demand capability, it can all be done, not on a dynamic basis but certainly on a planned basis, and that compares to the other fixed network in the country which operates on just over 30 megahertz. And as I often say, if you don't think we're comparing apples with apples, 750 to 30, halve it, you still don't believe me, halve it again. It is a massive, massive competitive advantage.

...It's not just about broadband, it's as much about the separate connection into the back of TiVo, it's as much about reallocating the spectrum to be able to take it where it needs to be. But connectivity is nothing without application, and application is nothing without connectivity. So we are the first major network operator to launch an IP TV platform that will ultimately reside on every one of our customers televisions, PCs, and mobile, it will be our middleware in a few years time, and it will be the glue that brings the TV, the social screen, the PC, the personal screen, the mobile, the remote screen whether that's a tablet or a smartphone altogether.

And it is so important because the application to open content, again a unique position of Virgin Media, we don't run exclusive wall gardens that you must use and you must view when I have it available for you. With TiVo we will be completely open. We have no fears of bringing a blockbuster or a love film on as an application into TiVo. Why? Because the application and content is the key to the wallet but in our case, it is not the wallet, which allows us to be completely open versus our competitors or major competitor in the space that needs to be closed. And you've seen the progress of next generation TV.

....Just a couple of other words on TiVo. I think it is a huge achievement that from the day that we decided that we were going to use TiVo as our middleware to the day that it was working and we launched it was just over 12 months. That is the sign of an organization that knows how to focus and it knows how to actually agree within itself what is right, because we're constantly, constantly facing investment decisions of choosing right from right. That is the hallmark of an organization that is focused, compare and contrast. With IP TV platforms on a global basis, that without exception are running late in terms of delivery.

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