OFFERING A NEW WAY for multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs), Internet-service providers and wireless operators to reach millennial audiences, aioTV has introduced a Web-video product centered on free, unlicensed video that could pave the way toward a broader offering weaving in licensed and subscription- TV services.
The new product, called Cuyte, will be offered for free to partners as an app that aggregates and curates freely available Web video from a variety of sources such as ABC, NBC, CBS, Maker Studios, Vevo, Vimeo and Fullscreen, assembling them into a channel-style interface. aioTV will try to monetize the offering through advertising, CEO Mike Earle said.
Were an MVPD to jump on board with the program, aioTV would build it two branded apps, one for Android and one for Apple’s iOS. The provider would submit those apps to Google Play and Apple’s App Store as their own, and would get access to the analytics and usage data they generate.
In addition to tablets and smartphones, Cuyte could also run on connected TVs, Android-powered set-tops and other TV-connected streaming players, such as the Amazon Fire TV box and Fire TV Stick. It doesn’t currently support Roku, but aioTV might look into that “at some point down the road,” Earle said.
Greenwood Village, Colo.-based aioTV said it can pull this off with free, non-licensed content by following the embedding rules of YouTube and other over-the-top video sources. The company’s patented system is designed to swap in the sources’ various streaming players and digital rights management systems without interfering or otherwise “touching” the core video asset, aioTV said.
“Their content is consumed the way they want it consumed,” Earle said.
The hope, Earle said, is that the initial approach centered on free, non-licensed content will get aioTV in the door and create a future opportunity for a customized, fully converged service platform that packages OTT with an operator’s linear pay TV service, including video-on-demand and authenticated TV Everywhere fare.
Cuyte runs on aioTV’s Webvideo platform, but strips out everything except non-licensed content.
Earle said aioTV, which is working with independent cable MSO Midcontinent Communications on a service that will blend over-the-top content and pay TV, launched Cutye because it has taken longer than anticipated to get partners to deploy the company’s full system, due in part to lengthy integrations with billing and other back office systems.
“Hopefully, this is a way to break the log jam,” Earle said, noting that aioTV is in talks with a broad set of companies, including TV and mobile device makers, as well as MVPDs and ISPs. “It’s not limited to any particular vertical here,” he said. “But the [partner] gets presentation and branding credit.”