By TODD SPANGLER | NYC Digital Editor
MOBITV has received approval form several TV programming groups for its white-label, hosted streaming-delivery service — paving the way for it to offer a fully managed internet-deliverd platform to smaller pay-TV providers in the U.S. this summer.
The company’s MobiTV Connect system has been vetted by content partners including Fox, Viacom, Disney, NBCUniversal, ESPN Media Networks, AMC Networks and A+E Networks, representing more than 210 networks. Under those pacts, MobiTV is now authorized to ingest content once and deliver it in an app-based framework to multiple operators.
For now, MobiTV does not have agreements with at least two major cable programmers: Time Warner and Discovery. But chairman and CEO Charlie Nooney said the company is in talks with every content provider and expects to have them sign off on the service by early July.
Note that pay-TV providers that use the MobiTV Connect platform still must have carriage deals with those media companies. According to Nooney, MobiTV has already signed more than 35 pay-TV providers to deploy its managed service this summer, representing a national footprint of more than 600,000 U.S. households. The company declined to identify the operators, but Nooney said most of the agreements are through its partnership with the National Cable Television Cooperative (NCTC).
Another point to call out: MobiTV’s hosted IPTV video-delivery solution for operators doesn’t include local TV stations, which continue to represent the bulk of TV viewing. Nooney said his company can work with customers to integrate local stations to be part of the lineup in a service that is mostly powered by MobiTV.
With the new agreements, “we are able to dramatically change the cost equation for operators of all sizes,” said Charlie Nooney, chairman and CEO of MobiTV. He said the MobiTV Connect managed solution will help operators get to market faster with a cost-effective delivery model that doesn’t require material capital outlays or an upgrade to traditional headend infrastructure.
The pricing for MobiTV’s managed IPTV service for operators is on a per-subscriber model; Nooney declined to reveal details of the pricing. “We are really creating something that will allow operators of all sizes to compete not only from a cost standpoint, but an innovation standpoint,” he said.
Viacom, for its part, said it fully supported the MobiTV solution and sees it as a way to reach additional distribution partners. “The MobiTV platform gives our affiliates access to a top-flight multiplatform service customized to their unique channel lineup and subscriber packaging,” said Sheri Weidner, Viacom’s SVP of partnerships, distribution and business development.
MobiTV, based in Emeryville, Calif., was founded in 1999 as a direct-to-consumer brand delivering video to mobile devices, initially through partnerships including with Sprint.
Nooney billed the soon-to-launch managed version of the MobiTV Connect service as an end-to-end solution for pay-TV providers, including a guide and user experience enabled across major streaming devices. The company can deploy the platform for a customer within 90 days, he claimed.