If startup "online cable" provider ivi TV caused some heartburn for broadcast execs when it launched a website that streamed live broadcast TV fare from Seattle and New York City, the latest entrant to the segment--FilmOn, which promised an HD experience and more content for $10 a month--should push them over the edge.
FilmOn, which rolled out its service in the United Kingdom in 2009, says it's launching a month-long trial in the U.S. (it's available here), that will include content from 30 premium free to air television channels and premium international Satellite channels including CBS, ABC, NBC, Fox, as well as Russia Today, BBC News, RAI Sports, Dubai Sports and TVE Spain. The company says it also has deals with Los Angeles TV stations KTLA and KCAL. The service also offers VOD packages that can bump costs to nearly $25 a month.
Ivi TV, which rolled out its $4.99 "highly disruptive" service earlier this month, already has seen lawsuits from the broadcasters whose content it streams. The Seattle-based company is being accused of copyright infringement in federal court.
FilmOn may--or may not--have better relationships with the broadcasters it's streaming, but it certainly has deeper pockets than ivi TV, which was launched with less than $1 million in funding. FilmOn was founded by U.K. financier Alki David, described in FilmOn promotional materials as the U.K.'s 45th richest man, a serial Internet entrepreneur and a shipping magnate. He also has, the company said, starred in several films and television series.
"Our platform is designed to be easily customized for broadcasters and advertisers who wish to get into the online broadcast business quickly and with minimal expense. FilmOn is currently in negotiations with all major cable providers and plans to provide complete syndicated cable television services throughout the U.S. in 2011," said David.
The service has been in public beta since October 2009, and, says the company, several million viewers have watched television via FilmOn.com.
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