Light Reading

TiVo Buys OTT Video Search Firm

Jeff Baumgartner
LR Cable News Analysis
Jeff Baumgartner

TiVo Inc. (Nasdaq: TIVO) has acquired Zinc.TV, a company that uses metadata to locate and curate video from more than 500 Web-based sources, Light Reading Cable has learned.

TiVo has not announced the acquisition, but a spokesman confirmed that it happened "some time ago." The spokesman didn't say when the deal went down, but the terms of service (ToS) was last updated on Oct. 24 and now directs all questions, complaints or claims related to Zinc.TV to TiVo's corporate headquarters in Alviso, Calif.

Update: Or did TiVo disclose it, but did not identify Zinc.TV by name? The TiVo 10Q for the quarter ended Oct. 31, 2012, does note the following: "On October 24, 2012, the Company completed another business acquisition for $5.3 million in cash." [Ed. note: Hat tip to reader sbiller1, who spotted it and made note of the disclosure on the message board. We've asked TiVo to confirm.]

Combining OTT and traditional TV
Zinc.TV gathers up free, subscription and pay-per-view movies, TV shows and video clips. Its original owner, Littleton, Mass.-based ZeeVee, had been developing the company's advanced video search technology for almost five years.

According to the Zinc.TV site, the company has cataloged more than 1.14 million "TV quality videos" from 533 sources, including usual suspects such as Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX), Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN), Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) iTunes, Crackle and Hulu LLC . Boiled down further, Zinc.TV claims it has access to more than 18,360 TV series and 81,962 movies.

What's interesting is that's system is capable of merging all of that OTT data with a cable operator's live TV lineup, what's available in the MSO's TV Everywhere and traditional video-on-demand (VoD) libraries, and what's stored on the customer's DVR.

Once that information is combined, the system can be tailored to give preference to movies and TV shows that are offered for free (i.e. ad-supported), via a subscription service (like Netflix), or on a pay-per-view basis from a pay-TV provider or via a service like iTunes. Another level of personalization lets users only see search results for movies and TV shows that can be played out on the devices they happen to be using, including tablets and set-top boxes. Once a video is located, clicking the "play" button forwards the user to the source of the video.

That sort of metadata/search backend system is of course valuable for a company like TiVo, as its current strategy focuses on a platform that can support traditional pay-TV services alongside access to OTT video. TiVo isn't commenting on how it intends to use Zinc.TV's technology, and it was not immediately known if TiVo has already integrated Zinc.TV's system into its retail HD-DVRs or the boxes and software it supplies to pay-TV partners such as Virgin Media Inc. (Nasdaq: VMED), Suddenlink Communications , RCN Corp. and DirecTV Group Inc. (NYSE: DTV), among others.

ZeeVee relaunched Zinc.TV in March 2011 as a white-labeled, Internet video platform for service providers, and announced that Genovation Capital LLC , a venture capital firm founded by a handful of cable vets, had taken an undisclosed stake. (See Cable Vets Launch VC Firm.)

Zinc.TV has not announced any service provider deals, but it noted in the March 2011 announcement that it was in trials with operators and partners in U.S., Europe and Mexico.

But the general idea behind Zinc.TV has already started to catch on with some major cable operators. A prime example is Charter Communications Inc. , which announced in November 2011 that its customer portal had gained the ability to organize content from Netflix, Amazon Instant Video and Hulu alongside the MSO's own VoD content when customers searched for movies and TV shows. At the time, Charter said it expected to expand that functionality on tablets and mobile devices sometime in 2012.

MSO's Web portal includes an Online TV Networks page that lists almost 300 Web-based sources of video, including mainstream suppliers such as ABC, NBC, CNN and HBO, as well as niche fare from Mojo, Craftster and Aniplex.

Charter, coincidentally, is a TiVo partner, but currently leases out TiVo devices only in its Texas-area systems. (See Charter, TiVo Mess With Texas.)

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

(2)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Jeff Baumgartner
Jeff Baumgartner,
User Rank: Light Beer
1/10/2013 | 4:00:15 AM
re: TiVo Buys OTT Video Search Firm

Would be a good addition to the TiVo search/curation function, as it's not always clear without a lot of hunting around if a movie or TV show is available for free, part of a subscription package or on a pay-per-view basis.  I can recall a few times when I've bought TV episodes on iTunes in haste only to find later that it's offered in the cable operator's TV Everywhere library.

I played around with Zinc.TV on the Web, but could see how this would be a good tool to integrate into a set-top UI.  But curious to know how much TiVo had to pay for this.  JB

Jeff Baumgartner
Jeff Baumgartner,
User Rank: Light Beer
1/10/2013 | 4:00:14 AM
re: TiVo Buys OTT Video Search Firm

Excellent eye, Sam. That would seem to match up. I'll see if I can confirm that it's Zinc.TV they're talking about on that reference. JB



From The Founder
Steve Saunders provides an overview of white box networking and introduces a new "slim line" version of the OSI 7-layer model.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
CLOUD / MANAGED SERVICES: Prepping Ethernet for the Cloud
Moderator: Ray LeMaistre Panelists: Jeremy Bye, Leonard Sheahan
Wagner’s Ring
The Business Case for Open Source

11|30|15   |     |   (1) comment

Open source helps companies enhance infrastructure, undermine competitors' advantage and teach collaboration. But there are problems.
Between the CEOs
Centec on Ethernet Switching

11|26|15   |   09:58   |   (0) comments

Centec CEO James Sun talks to Steve Saunders about Ethernet switching and the white box revolution.
LRTV Custom TV
Delivering Service Agility in the Virtualization Era

11|25|15   |   5.41   |   (0) comments

Interview with Massimo Fatato, WW OSS Business Lead, Hewlett Packard Enterprise.
Wagner’s Ring
How Might Open Source Fail?

11|24|15   |     |   (10) comments

Open source, SDN, and NFV are looking inevitable – but performance, standards proliferation and regulatory capture could derail the movement.
LRTV Custom TV
NFV Lifecycle Orchestration – a Fresh Vision for Telco

11|23|15   |   6.40   |   (0) comments

Simon Osborne, CTO Comptel, and Heavy Reading's Caroline Chappell reveal the business impacts of new SDN and NFV, and what the term service orchestration actually means. Together they define Lifecycle Service Orchestration and how the virtualized future will look for telecoms operators.
Between the CEOs
Cisco's Virtual Role in Saudi

11|20|15   |   12:15   |   (2) comments

Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders talks with Zayan Sadek, Regional Manager at Cisco Systems, about the competitive communications services market and advance of virtualization in Saudi Arabia.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Leads With Kubernetes for Cloud PaaS

11|19|15   |   08:26   |   (0) comments

Huawei is looking to Kubernetes as a key tool for building robust open source technologies for customers and partners, said Ying Xiong, chief architect of cloud platform at Huawei, in an interview with Light Reading West Coast Bureau Chief Mitch Wagner at the recent Kubecon conference.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
WiC in London: The Highlight Reel

11|19|15   |   5:33   |   (1) comment

NetCracker's Mervat El Dabae headlines an inspiring morning in London with help from leading women from Vodafone, TalkTalk, Hyperoptics and Ciena.
LRTV Documentaries
Why Saudi's So Hot for New Tech

11|19|15   |   05:07   |   (0) comments

Light Reading's Steve Saunders reports from Saudi Arabia, a hyper-competitive market desperate to embrace the next generation of communications technologies and services.
LRTV Custom TV
Why Data Models Deliver More Value Than Information Models

11|19|15   |   5.08   |   (0) comments

Stefan Vallin argues that more automation is needed to manage end-to-end services and the hybrid networks they run on, and that data models are key to achieving this.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
SDN Management & Orchestration in the WAN

11|17|15   |   7.20   |   (0) comments

Carol Wilson and Packet Design CTO Cengiz Alaettinoglu discuss CSPs' SDN service delivery and assurance requirements. Learn about a modular approach to building automated control, orchestration and management functions for the WAN that are policy- and analytics-driven.
LRTV Custom TV
Flash Networks: Optimizing for Radio Spectral Efficiency

11|17|15   |   3:34   |   (0) comments

Today most optimization vendors only focus on optimizing voice or data. Ofer Gottfried, Flash Networks' CTO, shows how improving data throughput and maximizing spectral efficiency reduces capital and operating expenses while also providing a platform for user engagement.
Allot MobileTrends Report H2/2015 reveals how daily online behavior can be used to discover smarter ways to profile customers and propose valuable, real-time offers to them.
Hot Topics
Samsung: No Sale of Wireless Unit
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 11/25/2015
Hong Kong Moments
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 11/26/2015
How Might Open Source Fail?
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 11/24/2015
Facebook in Africa: Beauty or Beast?
Iain Morris, News Editor, 11/27/2015
Cable Gives Thanks for Business Services
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 11/27/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
December 15, 2015
Virtualizing Cable Services
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Centec CEO James Sun talks to Steve Saunders about Ethernet switching and the white box revolution.
Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders talks with Zayan Sadek, Regional Manager at Cisco Systems, about the competitive communications services market and advance of virtualization in Saudi Arabia.
Cats with Phones
Can't Find the Phone on Thanksgiving? Click Here
Check under the cat! (hint: bottom right)
Live Digital Audio

Broadband speeds are ramping up across Europe as the continent, at its own pace, follows North America towards a gigabit society. But there are many steps to take on the road to gigabit broadband availability and a number of technology options that can meet the various requirements of Europe’s high-speed fixed broadband network operators. During this radio show we will look at some of the catalysts for broadband network investments and examine the menu of technology options on offer, including vectoring and for copper plant evolution and the various deployment possibilities for FTTH/B.