NBC, Netflix, MTV veterans launch cloud TV service Net2TV

Discovery Communications (Nasdaq: DISCA) and CBS Corp. (NYSE: CBS) are supplying programming to Net2TV, a startup looking to distribute ad-supported shows on connected TVs through a programing lineup called Portico TV.

Image source: Net2TV

Interactive TV pioneer Gary Lauder is funding Redwood, Calif.-based Net2TV, which relies on cloud TV technology from Lauder's ActiveVideo Networks. Cablevision (NYSE: CVC) uses ActiveVideo technology to deliver interactive programming to its Optimum subscribers.

Net2TV's leadership team includes former MTV, Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX), BlackArrow and TiVo (Nasdaq: TIVO) executives. Its Portico TV programming, which launched on connected TVs from Philips, features programming from CBS Interactive and Revision3, the Internet video producer that Discovery acquired for $30 million in May. Net2TV said it also plans to distribute full-length programs that will be supplied by Popular Science and The Wall Street Journal.

Net2TV's CEO is Thomas Morgan, the former CEO of dynamic ad-insertion technology provider BlackArrow who also worked previously at MTV and Nickelodeon. Former NBC and TiVo executive Jim Monroe is SVP of programming, and former Netflix and Adobe Systems executive Spencer Shanson is its CTO. Former ActiveVideo VP Henry Choy is VP of business development, and former Clearleap executive Peter Ansel is SVP of advertising services.

Net2TV doesn't pose a threat to cable operators and satellite TV distributors, since its programming lineup lacks popular original series and movies. But with backing by Lauder and relationships with major content providers such as Discovery and CBS, the company could eventually use connected TVs to challenge pay TV providers if it is able to strike licensing deals with popular networks.

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