MOBITV CEO Charlie Nooney on the move away from set-top boxes, ‘TV Everywhere,’ and the company’s latest funding round

Multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs) are fast learning that requiring hardware (read: set-top boxes) is not only costly but also a deterrent for new customers. It also makes retaining existing customers in this cord cutting era more difficult. For networks whose sales teams are now securing commitments for addressable TV, being everywhere and anywhere is a must.

This is where MOBITV comes in. The company, which has almost-unbelievably been delivering streaming video to mobile devices since 1999, is a leading end-to-end video solution that enables cable and broadband providers to run pay TV services sans set-top boxes. MOBITV has focused its efforts in the U.S. on small to mid-sized operators like ATMC, C Spire, and Fidelity Communications, among others, helping them “future proof” their TV offering, and this approach has paid off. Last month, the company raised $50 million to both further these efforts and to begin to tackle in earnest international opportunities.

For more on MOBITV, we spoke with CEO Charlie Nooney:

Found Remote:  How soon until set-top boxes are a thing of the past? What’s in it for MVPDs to still force customers to use this antiquated device? 

Charlie Nooney: The demise of the set-top box is difficult to determine with a degree of accuracy. I don’t believe there is a clean date, because innovation will always be the x-factor. Obviously, the retail-available device innovation and the commitment of those providers, we see as the clear future of pay tv delivery. However, the reaction and innovation of non-retail boxes and their relevancy will be somewhat dictated by how they approach cost and innovation. The current models make competing with OTT prohibitive and that would need dramatic change.

FR:  MOBITV has been delivering providers video content to mobile phones since 1999, which is staggeringly ahead of its time. What’s the next ‘future of tv’ technology MOBITV is working on now? 

Nooney: In many ways, the future is now. We are very focused on the integration of services and the monetization of technology through opportunities like dynamic ad insertion. The simplicity of app-based solutions increases the ability to add services and features at little to no incremental cost and in areas like advertising they greatly expand revenue potential for the operator.

FR:  How does MOBITV both help MVPDs save money and make money? 

Nooney:  It is a long list of obvious and subtle points. Clearly, the reduced cost of infrastructure investment and truck roles is significant. Things like recapturing bandwidth and even less obvious benefits like not needing to do the level of credit checks required for hardware impact the bottom line. We also expand their video footprint beyond their traditional cable footprint. Our customers are broadband providers as well as cable operators and that is one of the reasons our product resonate in these new highly competitive environments.

FR:  The white-label TV and OTT technology and services space is becoming crowded – and more and more of the tech is being developed in house. What’s going to help MOBITV stand out?

Nooney: First the dedication of our team. No matter the size of any company there is no success without people committed to success. In addition, the fact we are unique in being a managed service that has secured, at great time and effort, transport rights from all major content providers give us a level of flexibility of delivery that is unmatched. Finally, we understand that user experience is a major factor to success, and we listen to customers and are always focused on improving even the smallest of details.

FR: MOBITV recently raised $50 million. How do you plan on investing that in the short term? 

Nooney: We will continue to focus on new feature development and platform enhancements. This funding also allows us to begin exploring international markets again, where we experienced a lot of success before we focused on the IPTV opportunity in North America.

Adam Flomenbaum

The new Found Remote