aioTV – Online Video Infrastructure – Online Video Startups – Fierce 15 2015
When it comes to multiscreen video, says aioTV COO Jim Anderson, “there’s a fundamental chasm between what customers want and what the industry delivers.” Customers want to be able to watch the content they’re paying for on any device, in any location, anytime they want but neither TV Everywhere nor OTT providers have fully met that demand. The fault, he says, lies with the ecosystem both the traditional system that broadcasters and cable operators have built during the past half-century, and the IP-based ecosystem that is overtaking the media and entertainment space.
Closing that gap is aioTV’s mission. The provider’s middleware platform allows content owners and providers to pull together multiple sources of content linear, on-demand and OTT aggregate those sources and make them available across devices.
On the surface, aioTV’s service seems similar to what TiVo is offering with its hybrid DVRs, which integrate Netflix and Hulu with cable operator customers’ channel listings. But what differentiates aioTV from the competition is that it brings those multiple content sources together in its platform on the network, before delivering it to operators’ subscribers.
“The approach that TiVo has taken leverages off their brand and past success [with DVR technology],” Anderson said. “But what they’re not doing is they’re not blending at the content level, which is what we’re doing.”
The NAB 2015 trade show in April gave aioTV “a little bit of an ’aha’ moment” when the company found that many of the “big content companies” were taking a close look at how the company pulls different content sources together. “The value to them was ’metadata normalization.’ In English that’s, as a big content owner or operator you can actually pull all those together. That’s a big industry problem. They’re still struggling with this multi-source content business problem,” Anderson said.
Since its launch, aioTV has pulled in about $9 million in two rounds of funding, with its two main investors being UT Starcom and Innovacorp. Dish Mexico and Midcontinent Communications are among its operator customers.
What’s next: In June, aioTV is launching Cuyte (short for “curated YouTube entertainment”). As its expanded title reveals, Cuyte selects content available publicly on YouTube and streams it to its pay-TV operator customers at no charge. The expectation is that they, in turn, will provide that curated content to their viewers at no charge.
What is aioTV’s angle in providing Cuyte at no cost? Mainly, to help operators that want to have a multiscreen offering onboard with aioTV a lot more easily. “A lot of operators want to do something but aren’t sure where to start. This enables them to get into the market at an entry point and roll out services in the near future,” Anderson said.
aioTV’s target customers are wireless carriers and broadband providers that haven’t yet delved into the video segment. Its provider customers can offer Cuyte through branded apps.
While much of the traditional pay-TV industry is still defined by its inertia when it comes to capitalizing on multiscreen opportunities, aioTV hopes to provide the catalyst to speed up the shift into that world.
“Cuyte is a proof point of what’s possible,” Anderson said.