SAN DIEGO, Nov. 9, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Telletopia Foundation, a nonprofit online video service provider, today introduced its revolutionary over-the-top (OTT) business model that moves the local broadcast TV bundle to the Internet. Founded by former cable and telecommunications executives, the company is developing an Internet television service that will let consumers watch the most popular local channels live 24/7, including all news, sports and primetime programming carried by local TV stations.
"TV viewers are migrating to the Internet, but a simple, accretive way for broadcasters to move their business online hasn't existed, until now," said Gary Koerper, co-founder and CEO of Telletopia. "We give consumers the freedom to watch live, local TV anywhere on any device while giving broadcasters the ability to reach them—true television utopia."
According to Nielsen, the number of broadband-only homes has risen to 13 million as growing legions of "cord cutters" and "cord nevers" opt to watch television only over the Internet. At the same time, national content owners are offering OTT services directly to consumers, cannibalizing local viewership and advertising revenue. As these trends intensify, local broadcasters are finding it challenging to move their programming and advertising to the Internet. Telletopia believes that ubiquitous access to local television programming online is vital to the American way of life and has developed its service to meet the needs of both consumers and local broadcasters.
Delivering an Innovative Platform for the Broadcast Industry
Telletopia, as a California-based, public benefit nonprofit corporation and IRS-approved 501(c)(4) organization, has an exemption from the compulsory license requirements in existing copyright law for retransmitting live broadcast TV. As a result, the company can legally retransmit broadcast TV over the Internet. Telletopia follows the letter and spirit of copyright law that explicitly permits nonprofits to retransmit local broadcast TV without a compulsory license.
"Telletopia believes that broadcasters should be paid for the distribution of their content," explained Koerper. We're hopeful that the impending FCC ruling will enable us to work with broadcasters to set the retransmission fees we will pay for their live 24/7 broadcasts over the Internet."
Telletopia recently filed an ex parte with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regarding the pending ruling designed to spur market competition with traditional cable, satellite and telco TV operators. This ruling will reclassify online video distributors (OVDs) like Telletopia as multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs), empowering the company to negotiate consent with local broadcasters to carry their signals.
"As an MVPD, our platform will support broadcasters in extending their ad spots to the Internet, even must-carry and low-power stations," said Michael Librizzi, co-founder and CFO of Telletopia. "After dozens of conversations with local broadcasters, affiliate groups and networks, we know that extending the reach of a 30-second spot to online viewers is just as important as retransmission fees."
Service and Availability
Pending the FCC vote, plans are underway to launch a browser-based local broadcast TV service to major U.S. cities in 2016. With Telletopia, there is no specialized equipment or time-consuming installations. Using a Netflix-like model, subscribers will be able to sign up for service on Telletopia's website and instantly begin watching HD-quality, live, local broadcasts in their subscription area.
The service roams, so subscribers will be able to watch local TV on any connected device in any Telletopia-launched market. The company uses sophisticated geofencing technology to ensure that retransmitted local broadcasts and advertisements are only viewable within the respective local market.
- Greg Ireland, research director, Multiscreen Video Program, IDC
"We are in the midst of great upheaval in the broadcast industry. Consumers want more affordable, flexible online viewing options while broadcasters need to get their content and ads to the Internet and more screens. Telletopia looks well positioned to help both consumers and broadcasters benefit in this new media landscape."
- Gary Cocola, chairman and CEO, Cocola Broadcasting Companies
"Telletopia is poised to help us drive engagements with online viewers while ensuring broadcasters remain a vital source of local news, entertainment and sports. Not only will Telletopia extend our advertising to the Internet, they will provide real-time viewership data down to a level of detail we've never had before."
- Gus Hurwitz, visiting fellow at American Enterprise Institute's Center for Internet, Communications and Technology Policy
"Internet-delivered video has fundamentally disrupted the video marketplace over the past several years. But local content has been largely immune from this change. Most live broadcast television can still only be watched over the air or on cable television. Telletopia has accomplished a Herculean feat in developing a business model that overcomes the many obstacles that have kept this content offline."
Telletopia is a nonprofit online video service provider that delivers live, local broadcast TV to any device with a web browser. Telletopia offers affordable, HD-quality television: all the big-game sports, news and primetime entertainment carried by local stations. No set-top boxes, big bundles or contract commitments. Subscribers can watch the most popular channels live, anywhere in their market. As viewers migrate to the Internet, national networks and local broadcasters gain an easy and cost-free way to put their content online under existing law with familiar retransmission consent business models. For consumers and local broadcasters, Telletopia is television utopia. Based in San Diego, Telletopia is a nonprofit, 501(c)(4) corporation that retransmits broadcast content in keeping with the letter and spirit of U.S. copyright law. Telletopia's status as an MVPD will be confirmed by an upcoming Federal Communications Commission (FCC) vote, expected in late 2015. For more information, visit www.telletopia.org.
SOURCE Telletopia Foundation