Cox Douses ‘flareWatch’ Test of IP-Video Product - Multichannel

Cox Douses ‘flareWatch’ Test of IP-Video Product

3-MONTH PILOT TARGETED BROADBAND-ONLY SUBS
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An ambitious Internet-protocol video trial from Cox Communications that was seemingly tailored to serve “cordcutters” has come to an abrupt end just three months after it got underway in Orange County, Calif.

Cox last week confirmed it has shut down flareWatch, an experimental service that delivered live, streaming video from the cloud to vendor Fanhattan’s IP video clients and media-rich user interface.

The MSO didn’t reveal a reason for ending the trial or disclose how many customers took part, but said results from the pilot could factor into future product offerings.

“This limited trial was conducted as part of Cox’s ongoing customer research to determine how to best evolve our offerings to meet customers’ changing needs,” a Cox spokesman said. “ We will continue to evaluate the flareWatch trial results to determine how this might impact future product plans.”

Cox launched flareWatch in June, offering an IP-delivered lineup of almost 100 live TV channels for $34.99 per month, paired with a cloud digital video recorder service. Because flareWatch was offered to broadband-only customers, it was generally viewed as a service tailored to cord-cutters, or as the groundwork toward a cloud-based video service that Cox could eventually deliver outside its traditional franchise areas — if it could secure the programming rights to do so.

Cox expanded and tweaked the trial during its brief lifespan. In July, it added a small video-on-demand offering and streaming-music service while also raising the monthly service price by $5 and reducing the unit price of the Fanhattan-made boxes from $99.99 to $49.99. Cox was also preparing to add a gaming service to flareWatch.

The trial served as an early showcase for Fanhattan, a startup that got off the ground with a video search and discovery app for the iPad. It has since begun to work directly with pay TV operators using an integrated product arsenal that includes IP video clients, touch-based remote controls, cloud DVR service, and user interface.

Fanhattan said it plans to continue its work with pay TV operators.

TAKEAWAY

Cox has snuffed its Orange County, Calif., trial of “flareWatch,” an ambitious IPvideo service aimed at so-called cord-cutters.

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