Tired of waiting for TV Everywhere to materialize after a three year wait from cable operators, Nimble TV decided to offer online subscriptions to anyone who has a MVPD, (Multi-Video-Provider-Distributor) subscription? Offering a piggy backing solution for consumers, the company will take an existing customer subscription with a MVPD and add cloud based content viewing on any device. That represents some nimble legal research in convincing investors and partners to subsidize the venture. See Press Release (Nimble TV Offer TV Platform That Gives Customers Subscription TV of Their Choice, Available Anywhere and on Any Screen)
Using technology closely associated with Slingbox; the add-on service uses your existing cable or satellite provider as a spring-board to setup an individual customer DVR in the cloud to provide its service. In essence, your set-top-box is located on Nimble TV’s cloud servers and gives a unique experience as a second distributor for its customers, no matter where they are located, domestic or foreign. The distribution platform uses an ISP provider to do its work. That is, Nimble TV contracts with an Open Internet provider to handle distribution. Logically, the ISP will have to incorporate a hefty bandwidth platform. See (Major Disruptor or Does Everybody Win as TV Everywhere Dream Comes True) [Registration required at BTIG to view article]
Disrupting Pitfalls of Blackouts: Market DMA Specific
Blackouts from broadcasters may be a thing of the past as Nimble TV allows for DMA specificity regarding subscriptions to broadcast television. If you live in LA and want NYC programming, this service will sign up for the particular DMA through a distributor, bypassing regional program log jams currently subject to cable or satellite operators, therefore no blackouts for Nimble TV subscribers, just choose a service provider with the available programming. Note that Nimble TV must set up an office in both cities to register Set-Top-Boxes.
Potential to Disrupt Current NVPD-Programmer Agreements
The leverage being used in contract negotiations with NVPD’s and programmers could be disrupted if Nimble TV becomes successful. Since the distribution model will be changed offering more customers access to programming, broadcasters and Pay TV programmers will ultimately benefit from the increased exposure both foreign and domestic. Potentially, the strangle hold on service provider by program distributor could be disrupted allowing for lower rates for operators and consumers. The actual competition created within the market place will benefit consumer subscription driving up distribution of programmer products. Subscription for Nimble TV may begin at about $20 which would be in addition to a regular video subscription from a service provider. See (Start-Up Aims to Stream Pay TV Onto Web Devices)
Since the startup, currently in beta for the New York City DMA, will be using existing Pay TV provider agreements and customers must be subscribed to one of their packages; it seems reasonable that no programmer agreements will be violated. The current sticking point with programmers and the Pay TV Industry on a TV Everywhere distribution model is the concept of offering programming outside the home not covered in existing agreements. Programmers want to be compensated handsomely for this type use. Nimble TV is not covered under those cumbersome contracts as Pay TV distributors like cable or satellite operators; therefore no infringement is being propagated.
This does not eliminate the real threat that Nimble TV’s disruptive technology will not be challenged by the status-quo. The long-time legal wrangling between NVPD’s and programmers may shift swiftly to target this new technology, and therefore result in an epic court battle. But the positives for both consumers and the market in general are worth serious consideration as an alternative in video distribution.