Q&A: ivi Inc. Founder & CEO Todd Weaver

Todd Weaver’s playing for keeps.

The founder and CEO of ivi Inc. says he’s not going to let a copy infringement lawsuit from several major broadcasters, including CBS Corp. (NYSE: CBS), NBC Universal , Fox Broadcasting Co. , and Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS)/ABC, stop his company from retransmitting live broadcast signals over the Internet.

Weaver tells Light Reading Cable that the firm, which recently began distributing feeds from TV stations in New York and Seattle via the ivi.tv Website, will soon begin encoding signals from stations in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Chicago.

While ivi’s $4.99 monthly subscription service is available today as a desktop application, Weaver says ivi will soon expand to other Internet-connected devices, including the Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) iPad and iPhone. By targeting college kids and other consumers that are cutting the cord on subscription cable and satellite TV services, Weaver says ivi also wants to distribute content to over-the-top Internet video services and hardware from sources such as Boxee and Roku Inc. , along with Internet-connected TVs.

In an interview with Light Reading Cable, Weaver says ivi is also talking to cable networks about distributing their programming, and hopes to offer viewers à la carte programming options.

ivi Inc. CEO Todd Weaver

Contents: — Steve Donohue, Special to Light Reading Cable

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Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 4:22:03 PM
re: Q&A: ivi Inc. Founder & CEO Todd Weaver

I can't see the big broadcasters -- especially Disney -- wanting to let this door open at all. It's no surprise that Ivi got sued, and if they prevail, they'll get sued again for some other reason.

Obviously Ivi isn't surprised either. I'm sure their business plan accounts for being sued a lot, so - kudos to them, I suppose, for managing to get funded & launched anyway.  (How much did Ivi raise?)

Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 4:22:01 PM
re: Q&A: ivi Inc. Founder & CEO Todd Weaver

The broadcasters are pretty upset because they  rely on rich retrans deals with cable, telcos, and satellite TV that bundle in carriage of their cable networks.  ivi pretty much sidesteps that by doing the retransmission without negotiating all the other stuff, though they say they are paying the broadcasters some sort of fee.

But how this case end up could turn the biz on its head, especially if ivi comes out clean, but there would be appeals and, as you point out, the broadcasters might end up trying to sue them for something else.

Can't find anything on ivi funding, though... but I imagine they'd better put some away for a rainy day because they'll need to pay those lawyers.

Sort of reminds me of the early days of the Slingbox... That essentially allows you to retransmit all programming via the Internet. Some differences: Sling only slings what channels you get at home, and those signals are sent unicast to only one device (save for someone who's figured out a way to hack that so the box can multicast it to more than one PC, phone, etc., at a time).





TV Mananger 12/5/2012 | 4:21:34 PM
re: Q&A: ivi Inc. Founder & CEO Todd Weaver

You are both right.  The problem is running the shows and stations in time zone patterns. It fouls with revenues across the board.  It would have been the second coming few years ago to the stations, done right. But, now they get retransmission fees from the Cable guys.  If the programing was in in synch with time zones, there would be less to argue about.  The same problems for the FilmOne.

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