Leichtman Goes Corporate

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After spending several years studying cable and new media for the Yankee Group, analyst Bruce Leichtman has gone corporate, taking a job at start-up Internet content delivery service Vividon Inc.

Last week, the Sudbury, Mass.-based company announced completion of its second round of funding, raising $15 million mostly from venture-capital firms. Investors include Atlas Venture, Carlyle Venture Partners and private investor James Dow.

Leichtman, who was director of marketing at the former Continental Cablevision Inc. before joining Yankee Group, is Vividon's vice president of corporate development.

Founded in 1998 by three doctoral candidates from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Vividon is shopping a content-delivery server that sits on the edge of broadband networks. The company's target market is the broadband Internet-service provider, including cable operators looking to stream video from the Internet, Leichtman said.

Some cable operators have expressed concerns about the competitive threat posed by streaming video, since consumers may watch less television if programming can be delivered to their PCs. And some operators fret about cable networks offering their content for free on the Internet, while the operator pays a license fee for programming.

"You've got to think about it differently," Leichtman said. "It's not necessarily about watching
Titanic
-it might be about watching the trailer for
Titanic
," he said.

A good model was the CBS TV network's strategy of offering an Internet component to its hit series
Survivor
, which helped promote the show, rather than cannibalize viewers, Leichtman said.

Vividon is currently conducting separate field tests of its product with a Web hosting company and a digital subscriber line service provider, Leichtman said. The company is shooting for its first commercial launch in the first half of next year, he added.

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