MobiTV has raised $50 million in funding to expand its pay TV delivery system internationally.
Emeryville, California-based MobiTV sells its platform to providers of pay TV, such as cable TV companies and video-on-demand companies, enabling them to provide streaming video services to the TV screens in homes — without the need for a set-top box. Consumers can control programming on their televisions using their smartphone, and they can also view programs on the smartphone itself.
The money comes from Oak Investment Partners, Ally Financial, and Cedar Grove Investments. MobiTV will use the money to accelerate its growth internationally, as it continues to strengthen the MobiTV Connect platform for pay TV operators, which represent an estimated $200 billion in global revenue per year.
“[W]e clearly wanted to make sure that we were prepared for everything that will be needed over the next 18 to 24 months,” said MobiTV chair and CEO Charlie Nooney in an interview with VentureBeat. “We want to maintain our momentum and our leadership in the marketplace. So a lot of this is to make sure we’re enhancing the product. We also are looking to get a lot of interest internationally. We haven’t had the bandwidth in the last 18 months or so because of all the business in the U.S.”
“We believe in MobiTV’s superior consumer experience and know that being the only true TV-as-a-service commercially deployed solution in North America has differentiated their positioning in the marketplace,” said Bandel Carano, managing partner at Oak Investment Partners. “They have reinvented pay TV by providing operators a platform that allows consumers to use their streaming devices or smart TV, while eliminating the requirement of a set-top box — without completely alienating it. This leaves room for everyone to evolve and future-proof their cable offering at a pace comfortable for both operators and consumers.”
MobiTV Connect delivers value to operators through a full end-to-end platform, simplifying the cost and internal support structure by fitting a complex environment into a single solution.
The multi-tenant solution can be deployed through a managed service or in-network offering, allowing companies to address operators of all sizes in a cost-effective manner. Customers such as Citizens Fiber, Windstream, and EPB have all chosen MobiTV Connect to future-proof their cable offering.
More than 350 networks, such as A+E Networks, AMC Networks, Crown Media Family Networks, C-SPAN Networks, Disney, ESPN Media Networks, Showtime, Viacom, and others have granted MobiTV hosted streaming delivery rights, helping operators go to market faster with a model that doesn’t require material capital outlays or an upgrade to traditional headend infrastructure.
Nooney said the appearance of over-the-top companies like Netflix has forced cable companies and other traditional players to become more competitive.
Early on, while the U.S. market was sorting its procedures out, MobiTV completed big projects in Germany, Japan, and India, where it helped build an IPTV platform for a major Indian company.
Now MobiTV claims more than 90 North American operators as customers.
“We’re really seeing the reception in the marketplace because our solution is not only proven, but also we have secured all the transport rights and agreements with all the content partners that are needed for it to really do this,” Nooney said.
He added that MobiTV is saving operators a lot of money.
“We can secure a full-blown subscriber for [a cable operator like Windstream] without a truck roll,” Nooney said. “It allows them to do things like recapture bandwidth and be much more innovative. Application-based television is the future.”
The cost structure is much lower if cable companies don’t have to dispatch a truck to install a set-top box. And it helps the operators reach more customers than they otherwise might, giving them a way to compete with over-the-top companies.
MobiTV currently has more than 200 employees.