TiVo can't seem to let Aereo rest in peace. The internet TV's rise and fall is a well-known tale that pitted Chet Kanojia's startup against the Goliath cable networks, who ultimately felled Aereo with a US Supreme Court victory. Most people might not know that after that whole saga, TiVo made off with Aereo's trademarks, customer email list, and other intellectual property, all for a cool $1 million paid in bankruptcy court.
TiVo Inc. recently purchased a number of the Aereo assets because we share Aereo's disruptive spirit and are committed to viewers who want to save money, still get a great DVR service, and do so without having to pay a cable or satellite bill.
Has the company utilized Aereo's technology to improve its own lineup of DVRs and conquer the TV box market? Not exactly. Right now, TiVo is basically using its Aereo winnings to spam customers of the old service with DVR offers.
Aereo's transition officer is TiVo's marketing boss
I've seen some complaints and news stories about TiVo's ploy over the last couple of days, but this isn't a new development. These emails from the "Aereo Transition Officer" — his name is Brody Smith, if you can't tell by the lack of a typed signature — have been going out for weeks now. Apparently the role, which sounds mighty official, involves nothing more than hawking Roamio's hardware aimed at cord cutters. Seeing as Brody Smith is in fact TiVo's director of marketing, it makes total sense.
And as The Consumerist recently pointed out, the "deals" that TiVo is blasting out to Aereo's old customer list sometimes don't offer any legitimate savings anyway. And yet, according to the first email I got, TiVo would have you believe it's "fulfilling the Aereo promise." Apparently making good on Chet Kanojia's vision involves pestering people about products that, in 2015, aren't quite as revelatory and groundbreaking as they once were. Plenty of us want to see TiVo doing better, but this isn't an encouraging sign.
More examples of TiVo's spam play below.
No, Brody Smith. This isn't so awesome. It's extremely disingenuous in fact, since as they're written, these emails appear to come from a company that no longer exists. Aereo's legacy deserves better. You've had a few months to flash your products at everyone who partook in a pretty amazing (if flawed and illegal) experiment. Sure, unsubscribing from all TiVo marketing takes just a couple clicks, but enough's enough already.