Start-Up Targets Niche Video for Web TV

Start-up company AnySource Media is working with TV manufacturers to embed its technology into new HDTV sets. The TVs will be capable of connecting to the Internet with either an Ethernet or WiFi connection. Then AnySource’s software will permit viewers to watch online video.

"The vision behind the company is to deliver a wide-range of Internet content directly bound to consumer electronics (CE) devices, initially focusing on TV sets," said Mike Harris, CEO of AnySource Media.

While it seems that every app developer or software entrepreneur in America is engaged in a race to connect the TV to the Internet, AnySource has a particular angle.

"There’s a lot of different approaches," said Harris. "We’re not focused on apps, browsers on the TV, or trying to drive a PC experience in the living room. Our approach is focused on Internet video."

Specifically, AnySource is focusing on niche-audience video.

Broadcasters and cable operators are trialing new initiatives like TV Everywhere and OnDemand Online to stream mass-audience video content over the Web. And they’re challenged to re-define their business models with content providers so they don’t cannibalize their existing revenue streams. (For more, click here and here).

But Harris said there are lots of other content providers that usually can’t get distribution through broadcast or cable.

"There’s a ton of other content," he said, and he’s not referring to user-generated content such as YouTube. He said there are content providers that produce professional programming for niche audiences of a few million viewers.

As an example, AnySource announced last week two new content providers – Comedy Time and Salacious Streets TV, both video providers to mobile phone platforms.

"Having multiple distribution platforms like advanced mobile devices and broadband connected HDTVs provides strategic advantages for our company," said Michael Goldman, president of Comedy Time, in a prepared statement.

Besides putting the AnySource software on chips built into HDTVs, the company plans to manage the content from a data center.

"If we go to all these content providers and say ‘my platform is going to be the next big thing,’ it’s very difficult to get these companies to re-task for yet another platform," said Harris. "We have an approach where our data center communicates to these sites and takes content as it’s published today."

He said the software will capture all the content and metadata, then manipulate it to deliver it to the AnySource embedded CE device.

AnySource’s business model is to provide its platform to CE manufacturers at low or no cost, and then to make money on transactions that happen through the platform and through a cut of advertisements on the platform.

Harris said the company has been working with CE makers for 18 months and anticipates its technology to be available in TVs at retail in early 2010.

-Linda Hardesty

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