April 01, 2011

Nialli's take on the TiVo pricing

Here are my comments on the somewhat passionate response on this blog to yesterday’s “Dear Dean” email from Virgin Media confirming the availability and pricing for the new TiVo 1Tb box.

Personally, I think £50 off for existing customers is not to be sniffed at. However, for us VIP50s and VIP100s out there who are already shelling out £100+ each month it is galling to be charged an additional £40 for installation and another £3 a month for TiVo, on top of £149. I would have thought that one of those should have gone; sub free for a year or no install charge. Both will limit appeal to existing customers methinks.
So, it is an expensive piece of kit but is still cheaper than the inferior and now not-even-in-the-same-breath-mentionable Sky 1Tb box. But for how much longer? Expect Sky to discount that immediately.
What is more, TiVo is not a mandatory upgrade, so if people decide they cannot afford it they don't have to. Smaller capacity boxes will come and the price will fall - early adopter premium for those who cannot wait. I'm a little sceptical that TiVo can be implemented on existing V HD boxes, but if that happens, great.
I don't have a problem with Virgin's two under-the-radar promotions giving free boxes out to 1000 customers or the raffle, but I think it was poorly marketed and has created something on an anti-Virgin sentiment on some forums. Sure, not everyone can win, but the way it was done was poor. Those who got the original free Remote and lifetime sub really did get a bargain.
The date slipping from March to April 4 to April 11 - these things happen, and the more stable the box is when it hits the wider community the better in my book.
I guess one last observation would be that fewer people jumping in straight away will mean installation will be a little quicker for those of us prepared to pay now at this price. That's very self-centred of me, but you know what I mean.


Coops said...

I think that is totally correct Nialli, if you want the TIVO service then you must have to pay the price, VM have spent countless millions on infrastructure upgrades to handle both this now and the future and want to see a return. It may be that in 12 months that do start reducing the TIVO box & Install so simple wait till then or be an early adopter of this technology, I remember shelling out £ 249.00 for the first SKY HD box while new customers where getting if free, but I wanted so I paid for it, I was paying sky £ 110.00 just for there TV package a month (3 HD boxes)Really does annoy me that everybody wants this for free, Getting there TIVO box @ £ 149.00 and TV XL package @ £ 26.00 ish is not a bad deal. As every body that has comment on this topic who have been lucky enough to have TIVO already all comment the money is well worth the additional function this offers.

David said...

Very astute comments there Nialli. I hope you are forwarding these to VM.

For a company with the VIRGIN NAME that I feel have been the fore runners of marketing great ideas... this one should have 'heads rolling' as we speak.
I loved the selfish comment about quicker installation if the take up is slow.... you are a man of my own heart.
From a selling point of view, I am in Possession mode, so can't wait. However, as I stated in the previous blog, I have decided to downgrade my movies package and if everyone was to consider the same, VM's income would reduce in proportion, if however VM are buying Movies from Sky at £3 (and I don't believe they are) they would stay static in the profit stakes. My £25.50 per month saving is VMs profit stream loss.

As I said earlier....A PR disaster!

Sajid said...

I am VIP100 customer, never received call, and now I have to pay £149 plus installation. I cant do that, as I have just done multiroom, about a month ago and I paid £99 for a V+ HD box. Cant fork out another £200 for god sake.
Any suggestions?

mercelous said...

When I posted my review of TiVo on here a month ago I had received a call from Virgin to have it installed and I payed £149 and £3 per month with no install costs. Now I'm a VIP 50 customer so I'm a bit perplexed as to why everyone has to pay install costs. I was told all VIP 50 and above didn't have to pay install costs. Strange. I do want another one when they go on sale so I will ring them me thinks and hagle.

Darren said...

I like everyone have been waiting to see what the special 'pre reg' offer was, and like many others are disappointed. The £149 is fine, it's what I was expecting, it's the £40 install fee I'm not happy with.

Seeing as other special offers have been £149 without the install fee, I feel our pre reg deal isn't so special at all.

Very disappointed.

iggypopbarker said...

Pricing's fine, installation fee is not. Had to shell out £40 a few months ago for 50meg broadband, I'm a bit miffed about doing so again.

Richard said...

I agree with you and I have written to the Office of the CEO about their pricing policy and whilst they have emailed me and said they understand my issue, they havent said whether they will look into pricing policy for existing customers.

@ sajid I would suggest you email the office of CEO and ask them if they will waver the install for the V+ box as tivo wasnt available and you were not made aware of it when you ordered the v+ box.
You should try and get the V+ install costs refunded. VM are actually quite fair around this sorta thing from my experience.

kevin said...

Looking into my crystal ball(s), I see YouView on the horizon with Sky as one of the partners. My main interest is football so I'll be interested to see what this new setup brings in app. 12 months. I've just signed an upgrade for a VIP50 for 12 months and think I will wait and see. Like others, the box price is Ok as is the £3 but I do object to another £40.

Amortize the cost over 12 months and its an extra £17.50 pm so you'd better be sure you're going to be with VM for a long time to make it worthwhile.

David said...

After my call to the VM Order Prevention Team last night, I got the usual patronising "how did we do" e-mail

Well I replied.... and I do so here on a public Forum.

VM - Admit it, you have been visited by the F*** up Fairy. This whole TIVO episode stinks. Some get free Tivos, some get discounted Tivos, others get free installation and some pay for everthing.
Sounds like VM is now being run by Gordon Brown and co.

sibod said...

So Sky give some people £100 M&S vouchers, Some £50, some get cashback too via Quidco, some get special deals posted to them directly for half price for a year, some get free upgrades, some dont.

Yet when Virgin soft-launch (as has been their intent all along) to a limited number of people, they get so much stick for 'being unfair. The pricing is right in line with what you should expect for such a product, yet its still not 'fair'.

The ONLY confusing point I have seen is their Electric magazine print of 4th of April. It's just 1 week late, and what is more, they are giving everyone who registred £50 off, yet that's not good enough!

VIP customers, of course, you feel you are owed more, but there has to be a cut off, and obviously virgin have to work out what is viable for them to make a profit - they arent a charity for the entertainment deprived remember!.

Also, they have already stated time and time again - this is NOT the only Tivo product they intend to launch - far from it. Already there are rumours of a £50 500gb box doing the rounds - yet people here are so desperate to be first, yet not so keen to pay for the privilage.

The answer my friends is wait. If your already happy with what you have, then why so keen and desperate to move? If you cant afford it - fine - not everyone can stump up £190 in one go. Just as some cant afford to buy big TVs rather than small, or buy an Iphone over an Android.


So stop venting spleens. There's no f&**£ up, there's no conspiracy - it's a product launch and that's all there is to it.

sibod said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ant said...

Well said sibod

David said...

SIBOD. A well written and well thought through post. However, I don't suppose you are a fisherman or in capital equipment sales and marketing - I do all three.

Fishing - The best way is to attract fish with some form of ground bait...bigger response bigger catches.
Sales - to be completly tranparent and sell as honestly as one can.
Marketing - to send out correct information with clear timescales and direct ones communications personally and not to a generic name of DEAN (you clearly forgot that 'confusing point' as well.

I am in a position (Thank the good Lord and hard graft) that the costs are 'affordable' to me. Its the faffing out, the one price for one and another for those that can't see through the haze.

Sir Richard Branson has always wanted to take on the established companies that rip people off, or hide behind BS, it won't be long before he has to take on VM itself to bring back the status quo.
TIVO Launch has been a complete farce, but as they always say, there is no such thing as bad publicity.

sibod said...

David: I'd like to share a few thoughts with you.

"Fishing - The best way is to attract fish with some form of ground bait...bigger response bigger catches."

Indeed, yet Virgin aren't after a 'bigger response' at this stage. They have stated on various occasions that they are scaling up gradually. This is a product their premium, aimed at enthusiasts and technology fans - with more mass-market ones later down the line.


So while it would be beneficial to have millions of them sell as quickly as possible, they cant actually accommodate it yet. (Infrastructure, training of staff, available boxes, in house development etc). So it makes sense to launch at a higher price with less noisy marketing.

How long would you have preferred Virgin wait until they launch, then?

"Sales - to be completly tranparent and sell as honestly as one can."

And having not actually launched yet to the public, how can anyone say they havent?

Nobody outside an extremely limited number of people has had Tivo installed, and it's been by invitation only. Starting with Virgin Media employees, then a limited number of randomly selected VIP customers, followed by two sets of competition winners - it has allowed Virgin to scale up gradually.

Would you prefer Virgin launch with an untested infrastructure? That would be far more disastrous for PR than perceived delays and 'unfairness' to a tiny number of their potential customers..

"Marketing - to send out correct information with clear timescales and direct ones communications personally and not to a generic name of DEAN (you clearly forgot that 'confusing point' as well."

Marketing? They have hardly started!. apart from a few targeted emails at potential early adopters, the only time they have offered clear launch dates were A) The electric magazine and B) the Dean emails.

Criticising them for what was clearly a database error as 'Poor marketing' is just nit picking. They corrected it within hours!

"I am in a position (Thank the good Lord and hard graft) that the costs are 'affordable' to me. Its the faffing out, the one price for one and another for those that can't see through the haze."

And Virgin have NEVER said that this was for everyone. As cited above, it was their intention to launch a series of products based on Tvio.

As is the case with any technology product, the nerds, impatient, tech freaks, geeks and rich all want everything now as soon as it's announced!

Virgin only had vague timetables to work from when Tivo was announced - and they have given accurate schedules to us of when more information would become available. It's only been in here and other forums that earlier launch dates have been speculated about, or pricing speculated upon.

One should only ever go by official, published announcements, and if you can point to a single official source that has published anything other than the pricing or delivery schedule other than what we now know, then I shall take that back (slip of 7 days since Electric went to press - probably a month ago not withstanding..).

"TIVO Launch has been a complete farce, but as they always say, there is no such thing as bad publicity."

Im sorry, but there's no evidence of it being anything but carefully managed to avoid PR disasters.

What you seem to have preferred is that Virgin launch with a huge splash, like XBOX or Playstation launches, or ipads - where everyone is quing round the corner to get it first.

Well the plain fact is, it will not be like that. Virgin have never said it will nor was it their intent.

Far from being a farce, I think it's been a success.

Richard said...

@sibod - I think you miss the point.
I agree there is no conspiracy the problem and no-one objects to the monthly charge and the cost of the box.
What is inconsistent is the pricing strategy. And across the board, VM charge more to existing customers than new customers for like products. Existing customers consistently pay to enable new technologies. This '£50 off' offer will soon be surpassed by a new customer offer which will be better. eg half price XL package for 6 months equating to twice as much money.

As you rightly say, Sky 'reward' their customers either for longevity of service or for finding new customers. VM do nothing like this.

The solution for VM is simple, they just need to find a consistent and fair way to reward their customers and people won't be complaining.

lee said...

In general agreement there, Nialli.

Lately, I've been getting a bit fed-up with the "don't like it, dont buy it attitude" of a couple of people on this board.

Those of us who allow anyone to question anything, therefore see it as fairly reasonable that we are allowed to question the price!

Nice to see a reasoned piece (followed by many good replies) that offers some arguments.

For reference, I've never thought it should be for free, but certain factors, such as length of time being a customer and services purchased I think should come into it.

Square eyes said...


A new custimer will not pay less for the TIVO box than an existing customer

£199 + £40 install

paultrademark said...

So there wont be any special offers for new customers signing up to get free installs? I doubt that very much..

Square eyes said...


what part of no price reduction do you not understand.

NO SPECIAL OFFERS for new customers

There is no product like this on the market so if a new customer wants they will pay

£199 & £40 install

Sajid said...

I emailed CEO office and got a call back and been told that its not yet decided and confirmed email not been sent to customer. Still they not said that they will refund me or discount the price for TIVO

Bofrok said...

Hi Nialli,

Agree with just about everything you said. Didn't pre-register at the time as I know my wife didn't could not live without 3 tuners (now fixed) though did enter the raffle).

Only observation I would add is that it's not only VIP50s and VIP100s who spend over £100 per month. On VIP20 we have 3 extra V boxes and regularly spend between £115 - £125 per month, sometimes more.

Carryonvending said...

£125 per month on TV?

Where the hell are we going a humans?

Is it any wonder that I see advets for 'save the Leopard' 'Save these kids, they have no water' Save this Dog, he was beaten' - These people know where and when to 'pluck the guilt strings'.

And these threads are on about saving a £40 install fee, if makes even me feel petty in comparison!

Nialli said...

I don't think anyone pays £125 a month just for TV - there's a broadband and phone service in there as well. My personal bill each month is normally around £102 a month, and that includes 50Mb bb, XL phone, Sky Sports and Movies HD, a V+ and a V box and the top tier TV (whatever that is called these days).
One thing I've learned in the few years of doing this blog is that everyone values these things differently. I have some friends who have four iPhones in their family (£600 each a year call package) who think it amazing that I pay for TV at all. My annual phone charges are £120. Everyone has different requirements

Withingtonian said...

I'm retired now and like Nialli I pay just over £100 for the full TV/Phone/BB package. For me and I'm sure many others, the nearly £200 cost of upgrading to TiVo just aint worth it right now. If VM do get in touch I shall politely decline their advances.

Bofrok said...

@Carryonvending - We all spend our money on what we want. Friends I know often spend that much in a weekend or two. Take a family to a premier league football match for 90 minutes of entertainment and I dread to think how much that costs now.

As Nialli said it's not all on TV and with others in the house to pay their share it would cost more if they were living elsewhere!

Not sure where the leopards, kids and dogs came into this but if you really want to know we do give to charity when we can, not because we 'have money' but because we care.

Sajid said...

You dont need to explain yourself mate.
People do not suppose to write that kind of comment anyway.