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Wanted: Partners for Intel’s Virtual MVPD

27 Sep, 2013 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Intel’s foray into Internet-based multichannel video program distribution by the end of the year reportedly could be delayed as the chip manufacturer seeks partners, including an ISP, among other issues.

Intel, along with a separate initiative backed by Sony and Apple, is seeking to replicate the traditional bundled channel subscription offering similar to what cable, satellite and telecommunication operators deliver — except via broadband.

In addition to third-party content license agreements, which select media company executives have repeatedly heralded as forthcoming, Erik Huggers, GM of Intel Media, in February said the Santa Clara, Calif.-based microchip manufacturer would launch a pay-TV service by the end of the year.

That plan now may be slowed reportedly due to concerns by new CEO Brian Krzanich about the implementation and marketing of such a platform, among other concerns.

“For Intel or anyone else to launch and pay the networks what they’re getting from the cable companies makes it a very difficult proposition,” Bernard Gershon, a New York-based digital television consultant, told Bloomberg, which first reported the delay.

During the Sept. 24 – 25 Goldman Sachs Communacopia confab in New York, senior executives at Disney, Time Warner, Starz and AMC, among others, all expressed interest in a bundled, over-the-top platform that they said could expedite rollout of TV Everywhere and drive incremental revenues.

Intel, or any other O.T.T. service would have to ante up content license fees that at least replicated traditional MVPDs — a reality Disney CEO Bob Iger admitted opens new opportunities for content holders.

“You almost have to have our product in order to launch a platform,” Iger said.

Iger, Time Warner CEO Jeffrey Bewkes and CBS CEO Les Moonves have said they are platform-agnostic. As a result, if a new platform, whether it is an over-the-top platform or not, comes along and is willing to pay for license deals similar to what they are getting currently, the door is open.

“We are completely open to selling our product to them,” Iger said.

Intel, and others, just have to find ways to pay for the content and infrastructure required to make it all happen.


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