Monday, September 27, 2010

ZoweeTV is NOT ZillionTV from Silicon Valley

There has been a lot of confusion as to who ZoweeTV is, ZoweeTV is a product of a company called Vaenco, Inc. out of Canada. Interestingly enough the working title of their IPTV product was ZillionTV, long before the ZillionTV of Silicon Valley was around. In fact, rumors have it that ZillionTV (the U.S. company) how shall we say... 'borrowed' their concept from Vaenco, Inc. and that's why they were unable to use the domain, always owned by Vaenco, Inc. According to the U.S. Trademark Office ZillionTV (U.S.) has gone by several names; XillionTV and XillianTV before 'borrowing' ZillionTV from Vaenco, Inc. Please stop insulting ZoweeTV by associating them with the (less than honest) group at ZillionTV of Silicon Valley.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Companies To Watch: ZoweeTV

With Google TV looming, the new and (allegedly) improved Apple TV, Boxee and all the other over-the-top players, Internet-enabled TVs and mobile video platforms I have yet to see a truly integrated breakout multi-screen platform. Until now...

So I was fortunate enough to be invited to a product demo and presentation by a company called Vaenco out of Canada, they have a product called ZoweeTV that really impressed me, and that’s hard to do in a space flooded with promises of the next big thing.

These guys have apparently been in “hush-hush” mode for a while and obviously cautious about naming affiliations and “friends.” Although I did hear most of the major studios, networks and distributors who have apparently shown more than interest in this platform that delivers an integrated multi-screen video platform while allowing content owners to manage their own assets, set their own windows, pricing and distribution.

Some of the other things I found particularly interesting about ZoweeTV is that it will work on any Internet-enabled device, TV, mobile, tablet, etc... Along with the fact that they have a totally disruptive business model that goes against the rest of the industry and puts the content owners in control, an open platform that delivers to all screens and a solid, slick technology platform with social programming, sharing and network management built in.

ZoweeTV is definitely one to watch in the near future.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Lights Out For ZillionTV (literally)

Down for the count... Stick a fork in it folks, rumors have it that the once (and very allegedly) illustrious ZillionTV is shutting its doors for good. According to several former employees, ZillionTV started off 2010 with mandatory unpaid "time off" for some employees and money was so tight that they went without heat during the cold winter months, bill collectors knocking at the door, multiple lawsuits and many employees are still owed lots of wages and expenses. According to a lawsuit filed by a former contractor, Qwest Communications invested $10 Million in the start up in February 2009 along with what appears to be many tens of millions of dollars from Sierra Ventures. It's also rumored that VUDU and ROVI signed Zillion as a content provider for content that was never delivered.

According to a series of blogs by a former (and apparently disgruntled) employee, founders and partners Mitch Berman and Ben Silva were "not particularly known for their honesty" and before Ben Silva was charged with 10 counts of fraud from the SEC, now Mr. Silva appears to be the "Sales VP for Communications, Media and Entertainment" for a company called Telairity. Not even sure what that title means, but it sounds really, really important and maybe it will distract everyone from the SEC charges and failed ZIllionTV.

The company did not return my calls for comment and appear to have abandoned their offices. Is this a sign of things to come for set-top boxes who have hung their hats on the over-the-top business models that still have yet to make sense? Or is it more evidence that karma's a bitch when you're "not completely honest?"