Start-Up NimbleTV to Move Users' Pay TV Channels Online

The company is testing a streaming service that wants to make more TV content available online, but the company says it wants to ensure that pay TV and content providers continue to get paid.

Pay TV operators have acknowledged that they have been slow to make available TV content online to their subscribers in the so-called TV Everywhere initiative.

Now, start-up NimbleTV plans to speed up the process by starting to make some consumers' pay TV packages available on the Web.

Unveiling its service on Monday, it called it “a game changing new subscription-based TV platform that for the first time enables customers to access all of their television from anywhere in the world, on any device.”

The company, whose investors include venture capital firms Greycroft Partners and Tribeca Venture Partners, as well as media firm Tribune Co., will begin testing its service, which streams a complete pay TV subscription package of networks, with a limited number of users this week. The service also uses a virtual DVR that can record thousands of hours of content.

Unlike Netflix, the company isn't positioning itself as a potential alternative to cable or satellite TV providers, but simply offers to move their programming to digital devices.

“NimbleTV is based on the simplest idea: customers should be able to access the TV they pay for wherever they happen to be,” said NimbleTV CEO Anand Subramanian. “Today, the groundbreaking technology behind our service makes ‘TV everywhere’ a reality - with more options, high-quality viewing on any device, watchable from anywhere.”

In a nod to entertainment and pay TV companies, he also emphasized: “Our model is predicated on the belief that providers and content producers should be paid. NimbleTV is a solution that’s both consumer friendly and industry friendly.”

Asked about Aereo, the start-up backed by Barry Diller's IAC that repackages broadcast channels into a subscription streaming service, Subramanian told the New York Times that while his company doesn't need pay TV operators to approve its service, NimbleTV "went to extreme lengths" to comply with laws.

The NimbleTV test run will come in New York City and will be limited to a suite of 26 networks that the company will pay for, the Times said. NimbleTV's monthly fee will likely be around $20, according to the paper.

The company said in a statement that its price will include the provider subscription at cost, plus a fee for services, such as subscription set up and management, as well as the functionalities of portability and DVR services. “Customers make payments directly to their providers with NimbleTV acting as a payment service,” it explained.

There is no box to buy or equipment needed for the NimbleTV service.


Twitter: @georgszalai