Couch potatoes and mall rats can finally come together, without having to call in to a hokey shopping channel.
Yes, it's as cool as it sounds.
Let's say you're watching Oprah Winfrey and she's discussing her new book club entry. Want it? It's as easy as using your TiVo remote. Once a TiVo subscriber is tied to an Amazon.com account, armchair shoppers can click on the new Product Purchase option, enter a PIN, and the book is on its way to the address on file. For those who don't feel as impulsive, they can simply have the book put into their Amazon.com shopping cart to complete the transaction online.
It's about more than just Oprah, of course. If an actor is promoting a new DVD on The Colbert Report, boom! If a band is on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, a fan on TiVo can snap up the new CD.
Shopping mall? You are so toast.
A history of handshakes
Amazon and TiVo have been e-commerce partners before. They teamed up last year, offering Amazon's Unbox movie downloads and rentals directly into TiVo boxes. It was a great way to nail the final mile in digital celluloid delivery, but its appeal is limited to those who pay to download films and television shows.
This morning's initiative throws out a wider net. Who doesn't own a CD, a book, or a DVD? And since logic follows that viewers tend to tune in to watch writers and entertainers they like on television, they are already predisposed to consuming the products being pitched.
It's a perfect marriage, really. There is probably a huge overlap already between Amazon.com customers and TiVo subscribers. This just brings it all together. As long as the pitches are tastefully done without being obtrusive to those who have no interest in nibbling on the hook -- the way that TiVo has done in the past by inserting small "more information" tabs during certain commercials -- this will be huge for TiVo.
Yes, TiVo is coming off a quarter of record profitability, but spotty financials have been TiVo's downfall in the past. Whether it's a matter of taking painful detours through subsidized hardware or bumping up against the reality of sluggish subscription growth, TiVo shares have been trading in the single digits until signs of life that TiVo's income statements can back up its coolness.
Despite the iconic name, TiVo actually has just 1.7 million company-owned users. The balance are mostly DirecTV
A medium changer
The company's meandering growth is why this deal is also huge. TiVo has tried to set its boxes apart, beyond simply protecting its patent-rich lineage, by making its DVRs more than just contraptions to pause live television or watch shows later.
Users can now watch Google's
These are all great convergence apps, but nothing is as attractive as a simplified shopping experience. If you walk into a TiVo owner's home and watch them streaming YouTube clips in their home theaters or shuffling Rhapsody tunes, you may be impressed -- but it's highly unlikely you're going to trade your cable company's standard issue DVR for a new TiVo. However, once you see someone going holiday shopping without having to get off the loveseat, that's a medium changer.
Cable television shopping, whether it's through QVC or IAC's
Home shopping? You're so toast.
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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz does love his TiVo, and he does own shares in TiVo. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.