Analysts often take a revisionist approach when it comes to dishing out price targets. As a stock moves above or below the mark, Wall Street pros will often break out the Liquid Paper and drum up a new high watermark.
Then you have the case of Janney Capital analyst Tony Wible. He's reiterating his buy rating on TiVo (Nasdaq: TIVO ) this morning, but bumping the stock's price target from $17 to $19. It's a surprising move, since TiVo's shares have been languishing in the single digits since being dealt a setback in its legal battle against DISH Network (Nasdaq: DISH ) . A nine-figure judgment weighs in the balance, so it's only natural to see sentiment shift when the scales of justice go one way or the other.
If TiVo emerges victorious, it will be able to pad its coffers and have a leg up on enforcing its patents elsewhere. If it loses, it will forgo the meaty prize and also risk some of its licensing partners if TiVo's patents are unenforceable. After all, why would DirecTV (NYSE: DTV ) and Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA ) team up with TiVo if time-shifting on digital video recorders is fair game?
Wible remains upbeat, as if one couldn't tell from the aggressive target hike. He sees more deals, especially internationally where TiVo is just getting started. There is also the long-standing dream that TiVo can sell targeted ads as folks scan through pre-recorded shows.
Unfortunately, any kind of aggressive marketing will probably be a major turnoff to its paying users -- and that's a tenuous lot of customers since TiVo continues to shed subscribers.
There are also looming concerns that the big boys are moving in. Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL ) and Google (Nasdaq: GOOG ) will be hitting the market with set-top boxes in a few weeks. They don't do what TiVo does, but the push to consolidate home-theater gadgetry may find folks opting to go with web-served content on demand for free instead of digital recording on a subscription basis.
I spoke to TiVo CEO Tom Rogers earlier this month. While he naturally can't discuss the patent infringement case against DISH, he stresses that TiVo stands out from other set-top players in that they have been working with cable networks and broadcasters for years. Apple and Google have hit more than a few speed bumps in trying to get all of the major channels to play along.
In the ideal scenario, Apple and Google hit the market without the full support of the content creators and TiVo favorably settles its differences with DISH. It's a one-two punch that would definitely get TiVo's stock back into the teens -- but Wible is early to the party.
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