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IPTV Startup Bags $18M

NOON -- Newbridge Networks founder Terry Matthews and Welsh broadcaster S4C have jointly funded IPTV services startup Inuk Networks to the tune of £9.5 million (US$18.6 million). (See Inuk Lands £9.5M.)

Sir Terry, as he's called by the subserviant proletariat, had already provided Inuk with some seed funding in 2005 when the company was called Ubivisum (no dull tech names for this outfit...).

Now Matthews's investment firm, Wesley Clover, has contributed to the new round of funding along with S4C, the Welsh-language TV broadcaster that is one of Inuk's programming partners.

Inuk has developed a triple-play service called Freewire that's delivered to university campuses across the U.K.'s high-speed education and research network, JANET . (See Inuk Uses Widevine and Inuk Adds Soccer to IPTV.)

Freewire, which allows students to watch regular broadcast TV channels on their PCs or laptops, has more than 40,000 of Britain's top young brains using its virtual set-top box to pull streaming TV into their campus rooms. (See Inuk Hits 40K IPTV Subs.)

Inuk is trying to capitalize on its success in the student world by taking the service to the general British public and has a deal with Cable and Wireless plc (NYSE: CWP) for guaranteed service delivery. The company has also launched its service in Canada and is due to offer it in Ireland. (See C&W, Inuk Team on IPTV.)

This looks like a pretty funky service, and it seems Inuk may have developed a nifty "dynamic insertion" advertising strategy. We're going to check this out further. (See Inuk, Packet Vision Team.)

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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