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MobiTV Lines Up Programmers for New Video Streaming Platform

Taking aim at small- and mid-sized cable operators in need of a next-gen pay TV offering, MobiTV said more than 210 networks have signed on for a new, hosted IP video platform that will steer clear of traditional set-top boxes.

MobiTV hasn’t announced all the “major” networks that are on board for its new centralized, multi-tenant video delivery platform – branded as MobiTV Connect -- but did point to a representative group of programmers that includes C-SPAN Networks, Disney and ESPN Media Networks, Fox Networks, Fuse Media Networks, Hallmark Channel, Game Show Network, NBCUniversal, Pac-12 Networks, REELZ, Revolt, Showtime, Outdoor Channel, The Weather Channel, and Viacom. Time Warner and Discovery Communications are among the notables that are absent from the current list.

Under the hosted approach, MobiTV will transport national programming feeds from its centralized platform (the heavy lifting will occur at its facility in Sacramento, with support from points of presence in Atlanta, Ga., and Tennessee) to its MVPD partners. MobiTV will also ingest local broadcast feeds and distribute them for its cable and telco service provider partners.

MobiTV also sidesteps traditional set-top boxes by leaning on apps-based system that works with retail devices such as Roku players and Fire TV devices, web browsers, as well and smartphones and tablets.

MobiTV is also supplying the user interfaces, though the service will carry the MVPD partner’s brand and the MVPD’s individual channel lineups. The managed Connect system will also support the operator’s billing and authentication systems.

MobiTV’s hosted video system emerges as a new option that complements an on-premises version of its managed IPTV platform, and comes on the heels of MobiTV’s partnership with the National Cable Television Cooperative.

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“We can basically take the headend infrastructure off their [the cable operator’s] plate, put it in a central location…and service many operators from a single source,” Charlie Nooney, MobiTV’s chairman and CEO, said of the company’s new hosted, multi-tenant version of Connect.

MobiTV’s new hosted angle aims to reduce the capital costs required to create a next-gen pay TV service for tier 2/3 operators, but Nooney said some larger MSOs have also shown interest in the deployment model.

Regardless of the size of the operator involved, the primary focus is to provide those service providers with an economic path to an IP-delivered, multi-screen pay TV service that can help them fend off a cadre of new OTT TV service and a bigger cord-cutting trend.

“It opens up a lot of options for it opens up a lot of options for cable and broadband operators to not only stay in the [pay TV] space but get aggressive in the space,” Nooney said.

As a point of emphasis, the programmers on board with MobiTV have given the nod to the company’s video transport platform, approving elements such as signal quality and security. MobiTV’s system works in tandem with the distribution rights of the pay TV partners that are actually selling the service to the end customers.

“They [the programmers] have approved our technical solution…but we’re not in the content business,” Nooney explained.

Despite some variances in technology approaches, MobiTV is targeting a sector of the cable and pay TV market that’s also being pursued by competitors such as TiVo, Evolution Digital and Adara Technologies.

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For its part, MobiTV claims that more than 35 pay TV providers, representing a footprint of more than 600,000 U.S. homes, have signed on to deploy the managed service. MobiTV doesn’t plan to announce them until later this summer, but Nooney said the bulk of them are coming way of the company’s NCTC agreement.

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MobiTV, which is still working on deals with programmers that are not yet on board, intends to launch the new hosted version of its platform by the end of June or early July.

Hickory Telephone, DirectLink, USA Communications, C Spire and Citizens Fiber are among known service providers that are using MobiTV’s on-premises architecture to deliver IPTV services. It's possible that some of them will migrate to the new hosted version of MobiTV's platform. 

RELATED: Citizens Fiber Connects With MobiTV for App-Powered TV Option