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TiVo’s MobiTV Acquisition a 'Good Deal For All Involved,’ Cable One Exec Says

Cable One's Sparklight TV
(Image credit: Cable One)

While a Delaware bankruptcy court has yet to approve TiVo’s winning $18.5 million bid to acquire IPTV company MobiTV Wednesday, some of MobiTV’s cable operator clients are already enthusiastically signing off on the purchase. 

“All involved seem to believe this could be a good deal,” said an executive for Cable One, a tier 2 operator that uses MobiTV tech in its recently launched Sparklight TV-branded, app-based video service. 

Specifically, this executive—who doesn’t want to be identified because the individual isn't authorized to speak to press—was excited about the potential of TiVo to add advanced advertising capabilities to a MobiTV solution that hasn’t yet made such features commercially available. 

“The DAI piece has been a real bugaboo for operators, and it seems TiVo is on it,” the source said. 

According to the executive, many smaller operators have opted for MobiTV’s turnkey IPTV solution based on its relative affordability. “It was a CAPEX/OPEX decision primarily,” the source said. 

Notably, the National Cable TV Cooperative (NCTC), which represents more than 800 tier 3 cable operators, has been such a strident backer of MobiTV and its Connect SaaS solution. It even tried to bid for the Emeryville, Calif. tech company. 

Reps for TiVo’s new parent company, Xperi, didn’t immediately respond to Next TV’s inquiry about how it will message MobiTV’s existing client base going forward.

But in the company’s statement released immediately after TiVo’s winning bid Wednesday, Xperi CEO Jon Kirchner said, “The acquisition of the MobiTV assets immediately expands our capabilities and the addressable market for our IPTV solutions, helping to secure TiVo’s position as a leading provider of Pay-TV solutions. As a result, the acquisition of MobiTV’s managed service assets will help accelerate our growth in the IPTV market through an increased subscriber footprint.”

MobiTV filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in early March, claiming $79 million in liabilities vs. only $19 million in assets. The company’s biggest client to date, T-Mobile, gave MobiTV $15.5 million in debtor-in-possession financing to stay operational while it restructured and found a buyer. 

In a two-day auction process that started Tuesday, TiVo usurped a combined bid from the UK’s Amino Technologies, Roku and IP company RPX.