Mobile Video

QuickPlay Sets Up Shop in FLO TV’s Old Digs

SAN DIEGO -- CTIA Enterprise & Applications 2011 -- Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM)'s FLO TV Inc. loss was QuickPlay Media Inc. 's gain. The mobile video vendor took over FLO TV's San Diego facilities in July, and is now working to prove what Qualcomm couldn't -- that there’s a market for live TV on the handheld device.

QuickPlay's goal is to bring video to all IP-enabled devices, with all given the same attention and none limited by digital rights management issues, says CEO Wayne Purboo. The addition of the San Diego Network Operations Center (NOC), QuickPlay's third, lets it add live TV to its on-demand content. QuickPlay also gained Qualcomm's satellite farm behind the facility, but while it acquires signals the same way Qualcomm did, it transmits content over IP, not satellite.

Click the image below to launch a short slide show tour of QuickPlay’s San Diego NOC.

Purboo said that Qualcomm's former digs are the "best facility in the world to deliver video," and that it was up against a lot of interested parties in bidding for it. QuickPlay wasn't the highest bidder, but it ultimately won out because Qualcomm believed in its business model, he said.

"The business case for buying this facility was we knew there was opportunity with the Tier 1s," he says. "Video used to be the sideshow for QuickPlay, but now it's the main event. Cable operators want to take it to IP connected devices too. ... It raises the bar for what we have to deliver."

Qualcomm's live TV service ultimately failed because it was too expensive and too limited and the quality was too poor. QuickPlay is avoiding these pitfalls by only white-labeling its service for wireless operators, not going direct to consumer, and employing a shared risk model in which they get a fee for every subscriber an operator adds. They are also offering content that consumers already have on their home devices, rather than made-for-mobile clips. (See FLO TV: A Failure to Entertain and FLO TV Alive, But Not Well.)

Purboo concedes that consumers will always migrate to the biggest screens available, so they won't be watching TV on their smartphones when a TV is nearby. But he does see tablets as a big driver for mobile TV. There's a five-times consumption life on tablets compared with phones, he states, as consumers use phones for a quick fix and tablets for longer viewing.

With mobile video and TV becoming part of a broader menu of content that users can dip in and out of depending on their location and device availability, Purboo believes there's little worth in trying to get people to pay for it separately. He believes the popular model will be one that sees mobile content bundled with a cable or wireless service. "You will see few standalone video products," he believes.

QuickPlay isn't alone in these ambitions. Its biggest competitor is MobiTV Inc. : Purboo says every big deal goes to one of the two vendors. Both work with AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), for example. QuickPlay also counts T-Mobile US Inc. , Cricket Communications Inc. and Rogers Wireless Communications Inc. (NYSE: RCN; Toronto: RCM) as customers.

Purboo adds that QuickPlay also has to compete with in-house mobile video efforts. Usually, wireless operators try this route until they run out budget and seek a partner to help run pieces of it, he added.

"We’re innovating faster than they can internally," he says.

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

sarahthomas1011 12/5/2012 | 4:51:02 PM
re: QuickPlay Sets Up Shop in FLO TV’s Old Digs

With regards to picture 2, QuickPlay wanted to make it clear that they do take security very seriously, for mobile TV and for front-desk interlopers. The caption was not serious...in case you were confused.

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