Mobile Video

MobiTV Offers TV Everywhere

MobiTV Inc. is expanding beyond wireless carriers with a turnkey TV Everywhere service tailored for cable MSOs, telco and satellite TV service providers.

MobiTV's intention is to adapt its existing cloud-based video distribution platform so that authenticated pay-TV providers can deliver live and on-demand programming to customers via an array of IP-connected mobile devices, including tablets, smartphones and PCs.

It's a new approach for MobiTV, which historically has sold subscription video services on mobile phones via its partnerships with several major wireless operators, including AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ), Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) and T-Mobile US Inc. . Under the TV Everywhere approach, MobiTV plans to help MSOs offer a broader set of services to consumers who are already subscribing to traditional pay-TV packages. (See MobiTV Streams 167M Monthly Mobile Minutes.)

MobiTV believes it can remove much of the complexity and cost of such services for MSOs by selling them a pre-packaged yet customizable system comprising content encoding and ingestion, device integration (MobiTV supports about 375 devices today) and digital rights management (DRM) support. MobiTV also believes it has already overcome the major challenge for many MSOs -- delivering TV Everywhere services to a diverse base of mobile service operators and devices.

"You can't stop at the iPhone," MobiTV Co-founder and President Paul Scanlon tells Light Reading Cable, noting the importance of MSOs reaching Android, Blackberry and Brew-based devices as well. "PCs and tablets … are really a much easier part of our business. We've been building this for eight years. They [MSOs] are just taking on a different customer base."

MobiTV is entering the fray as video service providers of all sizes start to get their TV Everywhere strategies off the ground, mostly with on-demand content. While some larger players, such as Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) and Dish Network LLC (Nasdaq: DISH), have developed their own capabilities in-house, Tier 2/3 players are looking for partners to help them fill the gaps. MobiTV wants to offer that help, but so do many others. Several suppliers, including Avail-TVN and Synacor Inc. , have already started targeting smaller operators. (See Cable Co-Op Boots Up TV Everywhere Project and Avail-TVN Brings TV Everywhere to Tier 2s .)

But MobiTV is confident it's entering the market at the right time. "The consumer demand is there, and they [the service providers] know they have to deliver something," Scanlon says. MobiTV hopes its experience with delivering live TV to mobile devices could help operators of all sizes fill a piece of the TV Everywhere puzzle.

MobiTV's TV Everywhere product is ready to go, but it will look to its operator customers to secure the content rights. "We know there are rights limitations, but not device limitations," Scanlon says.

Scanlon declined to say whether MobiTV has any TV Everywhere deployments or trials underway, because the company is in the process of going public, but he did acknowledge that his company has already been holding talks with service providers.

In August, the company, which is not yet profitable, unveiled a plan to raise up to US$75 million via an IPO.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

msilbey 12/5/2012 | 4:50:14 PM
re: MobiTV Offers TV Everywhere

Comcast has built up its own national infrastructure, but even that cable giant doesn't have massive capacity everywhere. There are going to have to be a lot of network arrangements to build up the scale these video providers need across a national footprint. 

msilbey 12/5/2012 | 4:50:14 PM
re: MobiTV Offers TV Everywhere

MobiTV's in a tough spot in the sense that the company relies on a lot of costly infrastructure assets to get its job done. On the other hand, that's also what positions the company well for the future. That infrastructure creates a barrier to entry for other players. And it's not just the infrastructure itself, but the experience that MobiTV has delivering content to a vast array of devices over that infrastructure. Few companies have the tenure that MobiTV has for delivering TV over broadband. I'd guess they've learned a few things in that time that others will take a while to learn and apply. (No- I don't have any actual connection to MobiTV. I'm just speculating.)

pmicali1 12/5/2012 | 4:50:14 PM
re: MobiTV Offers TV Everywhere

I think you raise a great point about the benefits that MobiTV possesses with its infrastructure assets.  I know they might be relying on it a little bit too much but anyone with enough cash can buy up the rights for the content, it takes years and lots of capital to build up the infrastructure.  I wonder how they plan to handle the other big players set to enter the market (namely TWC and Comcast) as I've read that they plan to expand in this industry as well...

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