MobiTV to use $100 mil for upgrades


MobiTV Inc. has raised $100 million, including funds from investors Hearst Corp. and Adobe Systems Inc., the mobile television company is scheduled to announce today.

The company's Series C funding round had been at $70 million, as announced in July, though the company added an additional $30 million since then. In previous rounds, the company raised $21.5 million.

MobiTV has more than 1 million subscribers to its services that offer live TV, video-on-demand and other entertainment over broadband connections and to wireless phones through such providers as AT&T, Cingular and Alltell.

CEO Phillip Alvelda said MobiTV will use the money to invest in WiMax and other technological breakthroughs and simply to meet pent up demand for the company's existing services.

Alvelda said MobiTV's business plan is similar to that of cable TV companies in the way it acquires content.

"The big channels, we pay more for, the little channels we pay less and some of the littlest ones even pay us for distribution," he said.

Some of its content partners include Fox News Channel, CNBC, Discovery Channel, Learning Channel, Discovery Kids, CNN, Cartoon Network and the Weather Channel.

Subscription costs vary from carrier to carrier and depend on what sort of access to content consumers desire, but for the most part they pay $15-$25 for MobiTV each month.

Alvelda said the company sees a spike in subscriber usage during big news events, the biggest spikes in the service's three-year history being the Michael Jackson trial verdict, Hurricane Katrina and the recent final game of the World Series.