College IPTV Service Makes Grade

Tivli, an IPTV start-up that serves several major U.S. universities, is $6.3 million richer today, thanks in part to funding from Home Box Office Inc. (HBO) and Mark Cuban's Radical Investments.

The Boston-based company closed a Series A financing round led by New Enterprise Associates. Besides HBO and Cuban, other investors include Felicis Ventures, Rho Ventures, CBC New Media Group and WME.

The Tivli IP video service has been live since 2011, when the company piloted its TV Everywhere offering for Harvard students on the same night that U.S. President Barack Obama happened to announce the death of Osama bin Laden. (A quarter of the student body tuned in to the late broadcast.) Today Tivli has deployments at a number of major U.S. colleges. including Yale, Texas A&M University, the University of Washington and Wesleyan University.

In addition to transcoding TV signals for campus-wide distribution to multiple IP-connected video devices, Tivli also offers an interactive program guide and digital video recording (DVR) capabilities. In some cases, Tivli acquires content rights by working through pay-TV distributors like Dish Network Corp. and Comcast Corp.. In other cases, the company works directly with programmers like HBO.

In a prepared statement, Cuban said “I’m excited to be part of Tivli and think they are the future of entertainment on college campuses … Tivli is a great complement for AXS TV and my other entertainment investments.”

— Mari Silbey, Special to Light Reading Cable
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