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NimbleTV Disrupts From The Inside

The price of cable TV continues to grow. Better online video content and streaming devices have spawned cord-cutters. What do these movements mean for the future of TV? Disrupters and cable insiders talk to Jason Feifer.

NimbleTV Disrupts From The Inside

Photo by Jordan Hollender

Anand Subramanian

CEO, NimbleTV
NimbleTV's technology streams a cable or satellite subscriber's programming to the web, enabling TV viewing on virtually any device connected to the Internet.

The Visionary

"I'm sure I wasn't the first to wonder, Why can't we watch live TV—stuff we pay a cable subscription for—on the device of our choosing? Some people think cable companies have an evil scheme to stop us. I assumed something more benign: that the technology just wasn't available. So I met with cable operators and stations, and learned the real culprit: They're bound by a complex patchwork of old contracts and regulations, and it's just too difficult to get all parties involved—from advertisers to government regulators—into a room and work it out. But a third party like me is unbound by all of this. They welcomed and helped me. I'm their solution.

I'd never succeed by disrupting the industry model, so I'm working within it. To use NimbleTV, you have to pay for a cable subscription. I'll even facilitate that; I can encourage more subscribers. That way, everyone's still getting paid. And I'm realistic. This is an evolutionary product, not a revolutionary one. It's replicating what you can do with a Slingbox and a TiVo. But I'm making it easy; you won't even need a cable box anymore.

I've learned a lot in the two-and-a-half years since this project began, but the most important is this: Everyone in the cable industry knows consumers want more choices, and for the most part, they want to provide that. But it'll take them a while to untangle all these old relationships. One day, a cable company will surely figure it out and compete against me. I'd welcome that."

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A version of this article appeared in the October 2012 issue of Fast Company magazine.