23 July 2013

Nimble TV Hits Its First Roadblock - Dish

Nimble TV, a TV Everywhere-oriented startup, has just been cut-off by Dish Network from providing Dish's service via its service (FTABlog broke the story which went wide when All Things D picked it up).
"No Dish for you, Nimble TV", apologies to the Soup Nazi

In a nutshell, the concept of Nimble TV was that a consumer would use it to subscribe to an existing multichannel provider but get an enhance service over what the MVPD typically provides to its customers. Instead of having the consumer premises equipment (e.g., set-top box, satellite antenna) at your home, it would instead be at Nimble TV's location. The service would then be delivered by Nimble TV to you via the Internet and your DVR would be provided by Nimble TV in the cloud with its recordings similarly delivered to you via the Internet. This promised a number of advantages. First, your service and recordings would be available wherever you happened to be (e.g., at home, on the road, or at a vacation home). Second, Nimble claimed that you could subscribe to any multichannel provider, you would not be limited to the ones that provide service to your home. For this, Nimble would charge its customers an additional fee above and beyond the underlying multichannel subscription.
As I noted in my initial post on Nimble TV last year, I thought that the multichannel providers who would not allow Nimble TV to subdistribute their service without an agreement (and they may not even have the right to subdistribute their service in this way in their affiliation agreements with the programmers). Apparently this is exactly how Dish saw the issue when they cut off Nimble TV.

My assessment is/continues to be that the idea of providing an MVPD's service outside of its service area is doomed for the reasons outlined in my earlier post. More positively, the idea of a very high capacity cloud DVR that is available everywhere seems like a compelling benefit and live/VOD TV Everywhere functionality would be a nice thing to have.

On the positive side, Nimble TV's service is available direct to a television via a Roku box, making the use of the service in the first-screen setting relatively easy. This was not clear at the time of my first post, but the development was not unexpected.

Since my post about Nimble TV, it is clear that the value that Nimble TV is providing is less than what they had discussed at that time, prior to launch. Then Nimble TV was talking about a service with a 10,000-hour capacity DVR and its TV Everywhere features for "around $20" over the cost of the underlying programming package. Now, in reality, Nimble TV, per its website FAQ, offers packages that start at $29.99 including programming and a 90-hour DVR (presumably that service is solely over-the-air broadcast service similar to Aereo's $8/month 20-hour DVR service, since few MVPDs offer a service with many cable channels that price -- in any event Nimble isn't being transparent about which provider's service one might purchase ahead of time, but is once one is connected -- the items are billed separately to one's credit card). A 90-hour DVR is nice -- much higher capacity that the DVR's typically provided by MVPD's, but still a size that requires managing one's storage rather than having effectively infinite capacity. That's a big difference for a user -- the difference between having to think about saving things and not having to do so (akin to how Gmail's original 1GB storage offer revolutionized the web email marketplace).

In addition to the service diminution Nimble TV has experienced, it is also clear that the MVPDs are moving towards higher capacity cloud-based DVRs and making greater amounts of programming available "everywhere".  One gets the feeling that the window for the sort of service that Nimble TV might be able to provide with the cooperation of the MVPDs is shrinking as the MVPDs themselves roll out similar, if not identical services (Cablevision's new cloud DVR offering is 75 hours of HD storage and the ability to record 10 simultaneous programs for $12.95/month). Perhaps its technology is novel enough that it could be licensed, but to my eye, I think Nimble TV will be facing an increasingly difficult future trying to implement its current business plan.

Other takes: The VergeMultichannel News, Light Reading

Nimble TV's explanatory video

No comments:

Post a Comment