ZillionTV calls it quits

ZillionTV has filed bankruptcy and is liquidating its assets. The company, whose founder, Mitch Berman, had stepped down as CEO to concentrate on making content deals, was never able to gather enough momentum to launch the play, an ad-supported video to the living room service that was designed to be free to the consumer.

Originally targeting a 4Q2009 launch, ZillionTV just never got off the ground, despite support--sometimes tepid--from Walt Disney, 20th Centry Fox Television, NBC Universal, Sony and Warner Bros. Its original plans had the service being sold through telcos and other ISPs that would have traffic priority and thus guaranteed quality-of-service. A round of layoffs in late-2009 told the story of the company which, although it had established some content ties, just couldn't reach the tipping point it needed.

Berman told FierceOnlineVideo in an interview then that although some of his content partners were "worried about cannibalization of existing revenue streams such as syndication, DVD sales, box sets not being sold anymore. They're attempting to hold on to their money-makers, while stepping into the future, and I know that if I hold their hand through the process, they will allow us to continue to offer great content in multiple formats."

And, he said, ZillionTV would help them transition to new business model. "I don't want to bomb them into submission like Boxee, I want to hold their hand and diplomatically transition to the new model," he said. "The competition really is not Netflix, Roku, VUDU, Apple TV; my competition is to get the human being to switch from video 1 to video 2. If I have the content and a good experience and the business model works, ultimately the key component for the whole damn thing, is the consumer engagement that brings them back over and over again."

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