Avail-TVN lands 23 of 26 IPTV operators left adrift by EchoStar in August

Avail-TVN, which in August pitched its services to 26 Tier 2 and Tier 3 IPTV service providers scrambling to find a substitute for their transport and programming business support when EchoStar suddenly announced it was terminating the service, has landed 23 of them as customers.

"We hope the way we handled this sends a message to the industry that we have the capabilities to support these small- and medium-sized operators and that we're not going to pull out when it gets complicated," Avail-TVN COO Jon Romm told FierceIPTV. "It's an attractive business for us and our teams have done a nice job in making these transitions so quickly."

Romm said of the 26, one service provider that hadn't launched it IPTV product simply decided to not pursue a video service, and the other two teamed up to handle their own deployment.

"The technology is becoming increasingly more complex," he said, "and we want operators to know we can help them, give them the support they need, with the assurance that we're going to continue to be there when they need us."

In August, EchoStar told its IPTV customers it was terminating its ViP-TV linear MPEG-4 transport offering, giving them about 45 days to find a new vendor with which to work. Reports said customers were informed by email and told the company would begin shutting down the service Aug. 24.

Ironically, EchoStar made a big move in the business in 2009 when SES Americom's IP-Prime offering, a wholesale transport and programming business supporting small U.S. telcos rolling out IPTV service, shuttered its own service.

Avail Media (prior to its merger with TVN Entertainment), also used the demise of the service to build its customer base. By June, the company said it had added 34 former IP-Prime customers to its roster.

In August, Romm told FierceIPTV that the move by EchoStar was an opportunity for Avail to make another major expansion--one it was ready for.

"This is a great opportunity for us," Romm said. "While we don't like to see a competitor go away, if they are going away, we want to make sure the industry knows this is not an industry problem, it's a company problem. But, we've been through this process before and we know how to handle it."

"It's important that [the EchoStar decision] not send industry wide message that creates concern," he said. "It comes down to the difference between a company like Avail-TVN and what we do for a living, and for a company like EchoStar and its ViP product line. For them, the IPTV part is an augmentation to another business.

"We're in this thing for the long haul," he added.

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