MobiTV is scoring points with smaller cable operators and other ISPs seeking cheaper, easier ways to deliver multiscreen video services to their subscribers.
MobiTV Inc. announced late last month that it has signed up more than 50 US pay-TV operators for its MobiTV Connect platform. Launched two years ago, the app-based IP video platform enables providers to deliver video service to consumers through their own media streaming boxes and other connected devices, eliminating the need to install costly TV set-top boxes in subscribers' homes. (See 50 Pay-TV Operators Sign Up for MobiTV Connect and MobiTV Signs Up C-Spire for IP Video Service .)
The list of new service providers committed to deploying the MobiTV platform includes: All West Communications, Arvig, ATMC (Atlantic Telephone Membership Corporation), Dalton Utilities/OpiLink, Elevate Fiber, Fidelity Communications, Greenlight Community Broadband, MetroNet, Nex-Tech, Nortex Communications, RiverStreet Networks and USA Communications. MobiTV said these providers collectively have a total of approximately 1 million subscribers across the nation.
As our parent publication, Light Reading, recently reported, MobiTV is not exactly the only company offering a white-label, app-based multiscreen video service platform that can work on both retail devices and operator-supplied and operator-managed boxes that run Android TV and support cloud DVR and other advanced services and apps. Other key players in the emerging space include Espial Group Inc. , Evolution Digital LLC and TiVo Inc. (Nasdaq: TIVO). (See New Video Options Emerge for Indie Cable Ops .)
But MobiTV seems to have made the biggest splash lately, as shown by the announcement of its big customer haul at the National Cable Television Cooperative Inc. (NCTC) 's Independent Show in Anaheim, Calif., last month. "The reaction in the marketplace has been tremendous," said Charlie Nooney, CEO and chairman of MobiTV. "We've actually been pleasantly surprised."
MobiTV -- which struck a business relationship with the NCTC to license its service to the group's scores of members late last year -- offers an IP-powered platform that delivers live TV channels, on-demand programming, catchup TV capabilities, network DVR service and viewer recommendations. The software-based solution can support each provider's unique content lineup, content policies, branding requirements, billing and authentication, among other things.
"We like to call it Xfinity Plus," jokes Nooney, referring to Comcast's popular cloud-based video platform, which is now in most Comcast video homes. "This is not a one-size-fits-all service."
Nooney said most operators are using, or plan to use, the MobiTV Connect platform to deliver video service to new customers, not legacy ones, as they gradually shift over to IP-based video. "Most of our 50 customers are doing a cap-and-grow strategy," he said. "They're keeping their core platform and letting it churn out."
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That's certainly the plan at Fidelity Communications, a small-to-midsized service provider that serves less than 40,000 video subscribers in Texas and four other southwestern and midwestern states.
Loren King, video product manager at Fidelity Communications, said the cableco intends to use MobiTV Connect to extend video service to broadband users and others who don't subscribe to its traditional pay-TV packages. In addition, he said, the solution will allow Fidelity to offer a unified video service and customer experience across its HFC, fiber and copper networks.
"We see it as more of a new-client piece," said King, noting that Fidelity considered several rival solutions from other vendors before settling on MobiTV's offering. The operator plans to roll out the service this fall.
Pleased with its success in signing up smaller cable operators in the US over the past 12 to 18 months, MobiTV is now setting its sights on larger providers, as well as looking northward. Nooney said he plans to bring the platform to Canadian cable operators by the end of the year.
"Right now our focus is on North America and the cable community," he said. "I think the market is tremendous."
— Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading