Front Porch has been successful with its messaging product in Asia and Europe, but says it will be announcing a couple of U.S. provider wins in the coming weeks. The company intends to make a concerted effort to target other U.S. MSOs as well. Its pitch: video providers need its product to help them comply with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) argues that The 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act requires video providers to warn subscribers who are suspected of peer-to-peer file sharing of copyrighted video.
But, "the current process is unwieldy," said Derek Maxson, CTO and president, Americas, for FrontPorch. Maxson said the MPAA supplies providers with a time stamp and IP address of a suspected copyright infringer. Then the operator has to look up the address and send a notice via e-mail or regular mail.
Front Porch’s technology can help automate the warning process by sending messages to specific IP addresses. The message appears on a subscriber’s PC screen as an overlay on whatever they’re browsing.
As the debate over net neutrality heats up, FrontPorch’s product may offer a solution that would satisfy the MPAA, give fair warning to suspects of illegal file sharing and provide an automated process to operators.
But it doesn’t take much imagination to envision all sorts of other uses for FrontPorch’s technology. Operators could send messages to their subscribers for myriad reasons.
For example, an MSO could notify a subscriber with auto bill-pay that their credit card has expired.
Maxson said Massillon Cable in Ohio used the FrontPorch messaging technology to assure its subscribers that they wouldn’t have any issues during the broadcast transition to digital.
Then of course, there are the potential marketing uses. Rather than mailing out all those promotions, operators could just flash them in front of subscribers as they work on their computers.
"You really want to use it (the FrontPorch technology) judiciously," said Maxson.