TiVo Invokes Aereo’s Corporate Corpse To Market An “Exclusive” Deal That Costs $70 More Than No Deal At All


Aereo only operated for two years, and in that time the company commanded a small but loyal fan base. Customers in the cities where the streaming service operated enjoyed being able to capture, record, and stream local over-the-air broadcasts… until the company got shot down by the courts and went bankrupt. Now, another company is trying to fan those flames of affection for its own marketing — and the deal on offer is not good at all.

A former Aereo subscriber in Massachusetts received an e-mail today with the subject line “Aereo Bankruptcy Resolution.”

At first, she said, the Aereo-branded message looked like it was going to be just that: some kind of information about the bankruptcy process. Instead, though, it turned out just to be a thinly-veiled ad for TiVo. The e-mail (reprinted in full at the bottom of this post) urges former Aereo customers to jump on the TiVo Roamio OTA DVR as soon as possible.

Aereo shut down late last year, after losing their Supreme Court case and a handful of last-ditch efforts to keep the lights on. The company finally gave up and filed for bankruptcy in November, 2014.

When Aereo’s assets went on the auction block, TiVo snapped up the defunct company’s trademarks and subscriber lists. TiVo was pretty transparent about their plans for that data.

At the time, CEO Tim Rogers said that the acquisition “will enhance our ability to serve the growing segment of consumers who want access to both broadcast television and over the top content,” adding, “TiVo has found success in providing a more comprehensive offering and sophisticated user experience than any other player in the marketplace and we look forward to expanding on that success.”

In other words, TiVo planned to ply their wares selectively to former Aereo customers, and now that day has come. And the deal’s a doozy.

“With the court’s blessing,” the message our reader received says, “we’ve been granted permission to contact you because, like you, we feel there’s never been a better time to make the most of this free, over-the-air bounty.”

And what better way to make use of a free bounty than by paying TiVo $20 per month (with a two-year commitment) to access it?

The special deal for former Aereo subscribers is, unfortunately, very much the wrong kind of special. The standard subscription fee for the TiVo Roamio OTA is $15 per month plus $50 for the device. Over the course of two years, that works out to about $410.

Signing up through TiVo’s e-mailed promotional URL for the free device and a $20 monthly fee, on the other hand, will cost $480 over that same time span. In other words, taking this offer will cost users $70 more than ignoring it and just heading to a big box store or TiVo’s website directly.

Expanding success, TiVo: you’re doing it wrong.

aereo_tivo_letter

The full text reads:

Hello,
As a former Aereo customer, you’ve experienced firsthand the power and potential of over-the-air television. However, as a result of the Supreme Court’s Aereo ruling last year, these uncompressed, eye-popping HD signals and the free programming they deliver remain a largely untapped resource.

We’re working to change all that.

With the court’s blessing, we’ve been granted permission to contact you because, like you, we feel there’s never been a better time to make the most of this free, over-the-air bounty.

TiVo fought for the right to keep you informed on our progress, and we’re happy to inform you that our new TiVo Roamio™ OTA was conceived, developed and introduced for people just like you. This HD antenna DVR and streaming player in one brings two exciting worlds of content together in a single experience. You can also watch local TV wherever you are. We’ve set aside a small cache of these DVRs for former Aereo customers and want to offer it to you at an exclusive price, $19.99/mo. with a 2-year commitment. I encourage you to visit tivo.com/aereo_ota_offer to learn more while supplies last. Use promo code:ZH0Z016EU1

And thank you for helping us keep the Aereo dream alive.

Best regards,
Aereo Transition Officer

P.S. Don’t miss this opportunity. TiVo Roamio™ OTA was created with your needs in mind.