Waking a Bear?
By| October 15, 2010
Ivi TV, a broadcast-over-Internet service akin to and aligned in a key way with FilmOn (Cfax, 10/15)—both claim their online models are similar to cable regarding copyright laws—is touting its provision of NFL games without danger from the league’s blackout restrictions. Under NFL policy, games that don’t sell out within 72 hours of kickoff are blacked out in the home team’s market, a policy ivi somewhat brazenly called a “relic of the past” in a recent press release. “ivi TV…has innovated a solution to this problem ensuring equal access. Soaring ticket prices coupled with ever-increasing cable TV bills are forcing consumers to cut-the-cord and seek alternatives made readily available by ivi TV,” said founder/CEO Todd Weaver. Since the big 4 broadcasters have already filed suit against both ivi and FilmOn for copyright infringement due to the services’ streaming of their content, ivi’s trumpeted circumvention of NFL policy appears tantamount to poking a bear—or lion or bengal, depending on team affinity—with a sharp stick. Having already drawn the ire of ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox, all of which have strong ties to the NFL (ABC through ESPN), ivi probably should’ve tread more carefully in highlighting its offerings. After all, the league arguably owns as much clout as any media-related entity in the US.