TiVo's problem rests in its inability to convince consumers to change their television consumption habits. Improper targeting and positioning have led to an ineffective product, price-point and promotion strategy that has stranded TiVo in the chasm between the early market and the early majority.
TiVo is a truly discontinuous innovation, a product that requires consumers to dramatically change their past behavior with the promise of gaining equally dramatic new benefits. TiVo's main challenge is convincing the consumer to buy an expensive product in a new product category. While the Early Market, categorized by visionaries and technology enthusiasts, is adopting the product, TiVo has had little success convincing the Early Majority segment, also referred to as pragmatists, that the risk of change is worth the reward of their groundbreaking technology. This is evidenced by TiVo's current overall market penetration level of .04% and lackluster future projections. Visionaries are not a good reference for pragmatists because of their belief in evolution rather than revolution: . There are two things that TiVo can do to convince the Early Majority to buy. First, they need to secure a market leadership position. When pragmatists do decide to adopt a new discontinuous innovation, they purchase from the market leader. As the market leader, everyone else in the market adapts their products to work with the leader's product. In addition, the market leader attracts third party companies who make aftermarket products, even if the leader is not responsive. Second, TiVo can position their product to a target market that values the product as a 100% solution to their problem what is typically called the whole product.
Determining the right target segment requires an analysis of the customer, company and competition (fig. 2). TiVo's customer is defined by unmet needs in the market. While TV is one of the most ensconced and ritualistic elements of contemporary American life, there are still aspects of television viewing that do not fulfill customer needs. An estimated 68% of Americans complained that they felt "widowed" by their loved one during the Fall television season because their spouses were chained to their televisions during primetime from 8pm to 11pm. Additionally, parents expressed a difficult time getting their children to do homework during key television programming times. In general, this is evidence that consumers want greater control over their television consumption habits. Analysis of the TiVo Corporation reveals their core competencies, which include proprietary software, national distribution through established retail outlets such as Best Buy, Circuit City and Sears and product co-branding with trusted electronics giants Philips and Sony.