Telletopia Wants to Bring Local Broadcast TV to the Internet

The US nonprofit online video service provider Telletopia Foundation has announced it is developing an Internet television service that will allow consumers to watch local channels live, all day, every day.

The OTT business model would involve moving the local broadcast TV bundle to the Internet, contingent upon an FCC ruling that would redefine online video distributors (OVDs) like Telletopia as multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs) and grant eligibility to negotiate retransmission consent.


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Telletopia: live local channels via the Internet


Because of the company’s status as a nonprofit, Telletopia has an exemption from the compulsory license requirements in existing copyright law for retransmitting live broadcast TV so legally the company can retransmit broadcast TV over the Internet.

But the company wants the right to negotiate with broadcasters. “Telletopia believes that broadcasters should be paid for the distribution of their content,” said Gary Koerper, Telletopia CEO and co-founder. “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 24/7 broadcasts over the Internet.”

Retransmission fees are important for broadcasters but so is extending advertising to the Internet. “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, Telletopia CFO and co-founder. “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.”

Broadcasters appear to be receptive to the idea so far and Telletopia does not expect any active opposition of the service from the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB). For the past year, Telletopia has been making huge efforts to convince broadcasters that the service is about enabling from the inside as opposed to disrupting from the outside and the message has been well received by some, Koerper said

“Telletopa is poised to help us drive engagements with online viewers while ensuring broadcasters remain a vital source of local news, entertainment and sports,” said Gary Cocola, CEO of Cocola Broadcasting Companies, which is based in Fresno, California. “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.”

Telletopia plans to launch its browser-based local broadcast TV service…

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