TV Everywhere has become a reality. The technology exists to broadcast or transmit data, including television, everywhere and to everyone. It’s device independent too, meaning you can pick up television on desk tops, lap tops, mobile devices, tablets and game consoles. The problem is that it’s a bit like the Wild West out there. There’s no uniformity, with an amalgam of devices, formats, passwords, competing user agreements.
There’s now one company out there, Tivli, that is trying to bring some order to the chaos and perhaps to provide opportunities for independent producers in the process. Tivli is hoping to work with cable providers to keep the cable model up and running. Tivli is a service that enables college students (for now, just students at Harvard, Yale, the University of Washington and Texas A&M) to stream local broadcasting and a selection of cable channels to their portable devices. By entering their university credentials they can get the signal off of the universities’ wifi signals. Tivli essentially takes cable signals and then distributes them over a university’s high speed data network.
Tivli scored a coup when it signed up HBO to participate in its service. HBO has been out front in its adoption of TV Everywhere technology with its HBO GO app. That app streams HBO programming to people with existing HBO subscriptions. HBO is available free to Tivli users. HBO and other cable outlets hope that it will hook college students on their services and convert them to paying customers further down the road.
What services like Tivli could mean to independent producers is an opportunity to create channels that could be carried to targeted communities, like students. In the same way that Netflix is now creating its own original content, the potential now exists for independent producers to do the same. You might say that YouTube is trying to do this as well, most specifically with its creation of dedicated channels. However, a start up like Tivli would enables producers to provide and market programming directly to a highly targeted niche alongside marquee programming like HBO.
Tivli of course will need to sign on multiple institutions to make the service work. They hope also that they can bring it to other concentrated areas of potential viewers in areas with power wifi systems. They give hospitals and hotels and two examples, in addition to schools.