The Seattle based ivi today (Sept. 13) launched an app that it claims will provide subscribers live access to more than 20 channels including ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, the CW and PBS for $4.99 a month. One catch: Networks that are "involved" with this that were contacted by the Wrap entertainment and media news website knew nothing of their inclusion, much less had even heard of ivi.
"Clearly, ivi is operating in a legal gray area," the Wrap said. "It argues that its status as a cable company allows it to have servers set up in several markets -- initially New York and Seattle -- that receive transmissions of television signals that originated with other servers and then retransmit them through their app. Yet, because it is online only, ivi maintains it is not governed by the Federal Communication Commission and consequently does not have to pay retransmission fees in the way that a Comcast or Cablevision would."
WNET's programming is included in the schedule on ivi's website. Kellie Specter, spokesperson for Thirteen in New York City, told Current: "WNET doesn't have a partnership with ivi, so we're not sure why our content would be in their channel guide or listings."
Kevin Dando, PBS's director, digital and education communications, also told Current that PBS has no relationship with ivi.
On its website, ivi explains: "Since 2007, ivi has been hard at work innovating the way to bring TV online with the professional quality the very word television entails. ivi has patents pending for its content protection and consistent television viewing technologies, and is bringing TV online, wherever you want to be."