Synacor Acquires NimbleTV, Startup That Streamed Live TV Online

Synacor, which provides technology and services to TV, Internet and communications providers, has acquired NimbleTV, a startup that sold a service to cable and telco TV subscribers for accessing live channels and DVR recordings over the Internet.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The NimbleTV transaction is part “acqui-hire,” according to Synacor CEO Himesh Bhise. The startup’s team of 12 employees is joining Synacor with the deal.

“We are adding to Synacor a team steeped in video expertise, as well as an acquisition of technology that will enable us to deploy an authenticated, linear TV service on behalf of our clients,” Bhise said in announcing the pact.

With NimbleTV, Synacor said it will be able to accelerate video-product development and client commitments, as well as better leverage client TV rights. Synacor also picks up patents that bolster its Cloud ID authentication offering.

Founded in January 2011, New York-based NimbleTV had raised about $6.5 million in funding from Tribune Media, Greycroft Partners, Tribeca Venture Partners and angel investors.

“For NimbleTV, becoming part of Synacor’s unique business model and layering into Synacor’s video product road map is a logical and exciting next step,” NimbleTV founder and CEO Anand Subramanian said in a statement. “We bring consumer-tested video technology and patents to the table at a time when Synacor customers are looking to leverage new advancements with OTT and TVE (TV Everywhere) video, especially live linear.”

Last week NimbleTV informed subscribers that it was shutting down its service. In a notice sent to customers, the company said it was ceasing the service Jan. 12 — but added it planned to launch an even better product. Evidently, the shutdown was prelude to the Synacor deal.

NimbleTV offered the service in New York for subscribers of Cablevision Systems’ Optimum, Time Warner Cable, Verizon FiOS and RCN and expanded into in the Chicago metro area to residents with existing Comcast Xfinity and AT&T U-verse TV subscriptions. Its service started at $4.99 per month for 10 hours of cloud-based DVR storage. Its “Pro TV” plans offered a selection of cable and premium cable channels starting at $29.98 per month with a minimum of 20 hours of DVR space.

But the startup never had deals with any of those cable or telco TV providers, or with programmers. Instead, NimbleTV said, it confirmed users’ existing subscriptions and channel lineups through operators’ online portals and then streamed live TV and DVR recordings from its centralized data centers to various Internet devices.

That may have rubbed some operators and programmers the wrong way, given that NimbleTV was basically piggybacking on their existing customer relationships. Now, under the aegis of Synacor, NimbleTV’s technology will be positioned as helping pay-TV providers and others deliver live-streaming video services more quickly.

“We see a fragmented landscape of vendors and believe our customers are looking to Synacor as a one-stop, trusted partner,” Bhise said. “NimbleTV is another step toward expanding our team and platform to deliver end-to-end, advanced video solutions.”

As part of Synacor’s acquisition of assets, NimbleTV’s technology will be integrated into Synacor’s overall video platform.

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