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December 31, 2022
Evoca TV, a startup that used a mix of over-the-air signals and Internet streaming to deliver a relatively inexpensive pay-TV package, alerted subscribers Friday that the company was unable to secure fresh funding and will be forced to shut down its service.
"We are grateful for your support as we challenged the media monopolies to make regional sports and local content more accessible and affordable," Evoca TV explained in the email. "Unfortunately, we could not secure the funding that we need to continue operations into 2023. We must discontinue programming on December 31st, 2022."
Figure 2: Evoca TV used a mix of ATSC 3.0-based broadcast TV signals and Internet streaming to deliver its pay-TV packages in a handful of US markets.
"We overcame media monopolies, a pandemic and global supply chain shortages but not interest rates," Evoca TV CEO Todd Achilles said in an emailed statement to Light Reading.
Launched in 2020, Evoca TV emerged as a relatively low-cost pay-TV alternative, offering a package of local broadcast TV channels and select regional sports networks (RSNs) for $25 per month. Following its debut in Boise, Idaho, Evoca TV launched in several other US markets: Traverse City, Michigan; Boise and Twin Falls, Idaho; Phoenix, Arizona; Portland, Oregon; and Denver and Colorado Springs, Colorado. The company also had plans to expand into parts of Montana, Utah, Texas and Oklahoma.
Loss of an Altitude TV distributor
Evoca TV was also one of the few ways consumers in the Denver area could get Altitude TV, the regional sports network (RSN) that carries Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche games. Altitude is also available on FuboTV and DirecTV, but remains blacked out on Dish Network and Comcast. Comcast and Altitude TV remain locked in a court battle tied to their carriage impasse.
In addition to the email to subs, Evoca TV also shared the news on Twitter. Its customers, many of them Nuggets and Avalanche fans, expressed their disappointment in the decision:
Very sad and disappointed that Evoca is no more!— April 🌷 (@A_Town_Denver) December 30, 2022
Wish we could have helped in some way.
"The response from our subscribers speaks to the value of the Evoca service," Achilles said.
He recently told Light Reading that Evoca TV was nearing 10,000 subs, growing at "record rates," and enjoying a churn rate lower than 1% – well below the averages of other pay-TV services.
Subs can keep their Evoca receivers
As part of the transition, Evoca TV confirmed it would waive equipment return policies and that subscribers can keep their receivers. Those receivers will still be able to receive free, over-the-air TV stations and use third-party streaming apps supported by the platform (i.e., apps such as YouTube will still function and be accessible via the Google Play store).
Figure 1: Evoca TV receivers will continue to support some basic functions after the company's pay-TV service is shut down. Pictured is the "Scout," Evoca's Linux-based over-the-air receiver. Evoca also used the "Pilot," an Android TV-powered device made by CommScope.
Per the email, Evoca TV's original Scout and newer Android TV-powered Pilot receivers will no longer receive the Evoca TV channels (channels 80-191). They will eventually disappear from the guide altogether. However, local broadcast channels will remain in the device's guide and be tunable (users will need to use a channel scan to find local broadcast TV channels).
Funding efforts fall short
Word of the shutdown arrives a month after Evoca TV, which had raised about $35 million over its lifetime, warned customers it would be forced to discontinue operations at the end of 2022 if it could not raise more capital.
Achilles told Light Reading earlier this month the company was "making good progress on our funding" as talks continued with a group of potential investors that included broadcasters, content companies, team owners and some private equity investors.
Evoca TV also encouraged fans and viewers to sign a digital petition at Change.org amid its fight to avoid having to shut down. The petition was aimed at Stan Kroenke, chairman of Kroenke Sports & Entertainment, owner of the Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche and the Altitude TV regional sports network, and Dick Monfort, chairman and CEO of the Colorado Rockies, whose games are televised locally on AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain. At last check, the petition received almost 3,000 signatures.
— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading
Senior Editor, Light Reading
Baumgartner also served as Site Editor for Light Reading Cable from 2007-2013. In between his two stints at Light Reading, he led tech coverage for Multichannel News and was a regular contributor to Broadcasting + Cable. Baumgartner was named to the 2018 class of the Cable TV Pioneers.
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