Deeper Dive—MobiTV set to lead Tier 2 & 3 operators into the app-based future, compete with TiVo

MobiTV
While MobiTV Chairman and CEO Charlie Nooney insisted that his 19-year-old Emeryville, California-based company “isn’t just a small operator business,” it does seem to be tapping into the same Tier 2/Tier 3 MSO market that TiVo has so elegantly exploited for several years. (MobiTV)

SAN FRANCISCO — With video solutions provider MobiTV announcing earlier this week that it has deals to stream over 200 networks on its managed, app-based, managed-network video delivery system, and that it has 35 operators signed up to use its MobiTV Connect platform, I thought I’d ambush CEO Charlie Nooney after an afternoon panel yesterday.

Can he name some of these operators?  

Nooney, a former Disney and Technicolor exec, didn’t bite, only mentioning Mississippi-based wireless operator C Spire, which deployed of a managed app-based video service based on Connect last year. But he did say MobiTV’s client list extends “way past” 35 cable operators. A big deployment announcement, he added, will come later this summer. 

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RELATED: MobiTV up to 210 networks, 35 pay TV operators for managed video service

After all, Nooney said on the afternoon panel, app-based video solutions “are the future.”

Indeed, while Nooney insisted that his 19-year-old Emeryville, California-based company “isn’t just a small operator business,” it does seem to be tapping into the same tier 2/tier 3 MSO market that TiVo has so elegantly exploited for several years—that is, smaller operators without the wherewithal to to develop new video technology, but who need up-to-date video technology to stay in the video business. 

In December, the National Cable TV Cooperative even announced a partnership with MobiTV, determined to get Connect up to “critical mass” with its membership base.

Speaking alongside Nooney yesterday, Jon Radloff, VP of video solutions for the NCTC said his group constituency has to “make sure they’re making the right investments” if they want to stay in the pay-TV business in an era of fast-rising content costs and OTT competition. 

“For the video infrastructure, going all IP with an app-based delivery system will help,” Radloff said. 

While many smaller operators might find it tempting to ditch the pay-TV business altogether, Nooney cautioned. “Their economics will look a whole lot different when you take video out.”

Earlier this week, MobiTV said that it has secured streaming rights with more than 210 programming networks for Connect.

According to the MobiTV announcement, the company has inked deals with AMC Networks, Fox Networks, Disney and ESPN Media Networks, Viacom and NBCUniversal. Smaller programming deals include Crown Media Family Networks, C-SPAN, Fuse, Game Show Network, Pac-12 Networks, Reelz, Revolt, Outdoor Channel and The Weather Channel.

Notably, while MobiTV has the streaming rights, these operators will have to secure their own programming deals to carry individual networks. 

In February of last year, MobiTV announced a $21 million investment round from Oak Investment Partners and Ally Bank. The money was to be used to pivot away from MobiTV’s pioneering work in mobile video solutions and into what would become MobiTV Connect, a managed solution that will deliver an app-based video service with a modern user interface across devices, while supporting the operator’s content lineup, policies, branding requirements, billing and authentication.

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