TV Everywhere, the pay-TV industry’s answer to the OTT video threat has a new player. The latest entrant into this nascent space is nimbleTV, and what’s probably most interesting about their approach is that despite their promise of streaming a full (paid for) channel line-up on the web, they maintain independence from pay-TV operators like cable, IPTV, and satellite TV distributors. Meet nimbleTV, courtesy of a New York Times article.
With nimbleTV, subscribers will pay a monthly fee, around $20/month or so, to gain the ability to access their channel line-up from the web, in addition to the monthly subscription fees that they pay their TV service provider. In fact, nimbleTV operates completely independent of the pay-TV provider, raising early eyebrows that lawsuits are sure to come.
The service also provides a virtual DVR, with “unlimited” storage in the cloud. nimbleTV takes the Slingbox value proposition, and places it in the cloud, without the need for any devices or set-top-boxes like Sling currently requires. “I wish I could get my TV on the cloud so I can watch it anywhere on any device,” is a tagline on nimbleTV’s website.
nimbleTV will start out with a beta test in New York City this month of 26 channels. They intend to offer a commercial launch this summer, starting with satellite TV packages. It’s not entirely clear how nimbleTV is pulling this off. Do they have the rights to do what they are attempting? They declined to say whether any current pay-TV provider is on board with their vision.
Regarding the access rights question, the New York Times quotes nimbleTV’s CEO Anand Subramanian as saying nimbleTV “went to extreme lengths” to ensure they had legal grounds to offer this service as advertised. As the New York Times points out, one interesting implication for this approach is the potential ability for subscribers to shop for a TV service out-of-market, and then stream it to wherever they are physically located, adding a new competitive dimension to the pay-TV market.
Of course, that’s rather farfetched right now, considering they are just in beta and surely will have some legal hurdles to overcome before this service is widely available, if ever.
nimbleTV joins a long list of start-ups — past, current, and future — all trying to figure out a legitimate business model for TV Everywhere and OTT video. The quest will continue for some time, with winners and losers, but mostly losers. We’ll have to wait and see which camp nimbleTV falls into.