The allure of the online video space-unbounded growth, massive consumer uptake, uncertain monetization and all--has proven too much to resist for yet another telecom company. This time it's Frontier Communications that has been drawn to the siren song, launching an OTT offering called "MyFiTV," which the company is making available to anyone, regardless of whether or not they're a customer.
"At Frontier, the consumer experience and value are of paramount importance," said Maggie Wilderotter, Chairman and CEO of Frontier. "MyFiTV is available to all and offers a great deal of free content. If the content is available on the Web for free, then we offer it for free. If it's not, then we offer a pay-per-view option through our partnership with Amazon.com."
Frontier, which has service in 24 states, already offers a Pay TV solution in the form of an IPTV package, so its offering of an OTT platform isn't a real surprise.
What is a surprise is that it's not placing any walls around the content. The MyFiTV.com website simply provides listings and links to movies and TV episodes via Hulu or Amazon, and to sporting events through ESPN360.
It's also plans links to some local news and sports; it currently has the NBC and FOX affiliates from Minneapolis/St. Paul on board but says it has plans for more stations in more cities. As for making money off the site, the company has some display ads on the various landing pages, but doesn't seem to be doing much more with it. That, of course, could change as it becomes more popular.
"MyFiTV reflects the disappearing lines between televisions, personal computers and mobile devices and the way time is shifting," said Wilderotter. "(It) gives viewers control, and its unique user experience offers more than 100,000 titles and seamless search and navigation functions. It's all about search less and watch more."
Frontier's offering is part of a push by the Pay TV industry to take advantage of a market that's growing by leaps and bounds. A study from The Diffusion Group in September estimated that the OTT segment could be worth more than $5.7 billion by 2014.
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