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Mobivivo Wants to Create an App for Every TV Show and Movie

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Trevor DoerksenEvery TV program and movie deserves its own app, just like each movie and TV season has had its own DVD,” says Trevor Doerksen, CEO of Mobovivo, Inc. (www.mobo vivo.com) in Calgary, Canada. “The app allows access to video and much more in a connected, social, multiple device age.”

Doerksen’s vision is of a second-screen app; something that viewers can access on their iPads or other connected devices while watching shows or movies. “This would let you access Facebook and Twitter feeds related to the show, information, interviews with the actors and crew, and anything else that might be of interest to the viewer,” he says. “The result would be a tremendous value-added app that would not only enhance the consumer’s enjoyment of the show, but will also tie them into it much more closely. In a time when network TV shows live and die quickly based on their ratings -- and when the web is cutting into traditional audiences -- this kind of relationship-building opportunity could be a game changer for producers.”

Mobovivo is so committed to the notion of an app for every TV show that the company recently did an about-face in its business operations.

For many years, Mobovivo has worked with Canadian broadcasters, such as CBC TV, in making their broadcast content available on the web. In fact, this company helped Canadian broadcasters get iPhone-compatible streaming video available for sale in 2006, even before Apple started offering video downloads in Canada. However, the iPad’s explosive popularity subsequently convinced Doerksen to shutter Mobovivo’s video web store in July 2011 and put his company’s efforts into serving the app-TV market.

“The iPad was in 20 million homes after 1 year,” he says. “Apps are now seen as a powerful way to market and distribute video to bigger screens than just mobile phones. That’s what Mobovivo’s products are meant to do.”

Mobovivo’s apps deliver movies and TV programs during key market phases that are both within their exclusive broadcast windows and in the aftermarket, when content is distributed to home viewers on DVD and via the web. The apps are part of Mobovivo’s MiScreens product family. It includes apps that support branded video interfaces for users, video delivery (ingest, transcoding, and streaming), and Watch Later, a PVR-style feature that allows users to download shows for later viewing.

PreviiwPreviiw is another of Mobovivo’s app technologies. With Previiw, a viewer can clip up to 90 seconds of a broadcast for sharing with friends over Facebook, Twitter, email, or blogs. Previiw comes with embedded buttons that allow viewers to buy the shows from which clips have been derived, giving content producers a chance to generate revenues on the spot.

“The goal of Previiw is to get users talking about and spending more time with your content, and to motivate them to watch more of it,” says Doerksen.

Social Stream is a feature within Mobovivo’s apps that allows content producers to format second-screen content into a magazine-style format. “In Social Stream, metadata associated with the show and the viewers’ personal preferences is used by the app to download information, news, social comments, and advertising that are targeted to their tastes,” Doerksen says. “Users can also share comments with other viewers in real time. That’s why we describe Social Stream as being ‘Social TV.’”

Mobovivo even sees a market opportunity for an app that distributes content from TV shows and films that have yet to be released. “This is a market that has not really been tapped by producers, beyond putting out trailers and some news releases,” he says. “Our goal is to change this with a new app code-named Listen Up.” With Listen Up, a producer can compile interviews, actor and director bios, photos and trailers, and web connections that will enhance the viewer’s interest in the production.

“By the time the show or film comes out, the viewer should be hooked,” Doerksen predicts. “At that point, the viewer can be moved onto the app associated with the exclusive distribution window. And after the production goes to the home market, [the viewer will] move to the next relevant app. It’s a seamless process, and every tap of the screen and minute of video viewed is tracked and reported back to our customers where that data can be analyzed and converted into meaningful business strategy.”

Clearly, Doerksen is serious about apps becoming integral to the distribution of TV programs and movies. And why not? One can see the business logic for producers and broadcasters: the ability to plan a production’s entire life cycle at the outset and ensure optimization of the opportunity associated with all three stages of the content’s market cycle -- prerelease, exclusive distribution, and home distribution.

Mobovivo’s solutions make great sense from a promotional standpoint; that’s not surprising given the composition of Team Mobovivo. “Our company is made up of TV producers, filmmakers, screenplay writers, and advertising and TV executives who have a deep understanding of the complete life cycle of content from pre-production to home entertainment distribution,” says Doerksen. “This gives us unique and massive insight into what content providers need, and what consumers of video and apps want.”

This said, the next 12 months are critically important for Mobovivo. It has developed an end-to-end app approach that makes sense. Now it has to sell the concept to film and TV producers.

It remains to be seen how well the company will do, especially in the highly competitive U.S. market. But Doerksen does have a good track record for anticipating streaming media trends and getting on top of them, as was proven in 2006 when Mobovivo beat Apple to the Canadian iPhone download market.

In the meantime, Mobovivo can officially claim the status of Up and Comer. On Oct. 19, 2011, the company won a Companies-to-Watch Award, one of four awards categories that make up the 2011 Deloitte Technology Fast 50 Awards. Sponsored by the Canadian financial services firm Deloitte, winning a Fast 50 Award means something in Canada.

“Companies-to-Watch award winners frequently go on to score high rankings in the Deloitte Technology Fast 50 once they have a 5-year track record,” explains Richard Lee, national leader, technology in Deloitte’s Media & Telecommunications Industry Group. “Mobovivo has quickly distinguished itself for its innovative technology and entrepreneurship, and this award recognizes Mobovivo’s potential as a leader in the Canadian technology industry.” 

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