KlowdTV might be the Next Big Thing

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It’s been just two weeks since the NAB Show opened. It feels more like two months. I’ve still got a couple of topics left from the show that I need to get to, and this is one of them. Next, I’ll give you a wrap-up with what I saw about virtual reality.

StartUpLoft banner at the NAB Show
KlowdTV wasn’t in the Start Up Loft at the NAB Show. It was in the Sprockit area for startups. Which is different. I don’t know why.

The best part of these big conferences is the opportunity to meet people. I had a nice talk with Bill O’Hara, CEO of KlowdTV, an OTT company which streams a lot of interesting Spanish channels and an oddball assortment of English channels. KlowdTV had to drop beIN Sports last month, and O’Hara talked me down from the conspiracy theory I had concocted in response. It was a simple financial issue, O’Hara said, not exclusivity. Glad to hear that they’re playing fair.

As we talked, it occurred to me that I hadn’t sufficiently explain why I love KlowdTV. It’s based on very skinny bundles. The first $2/month covers just the platform and a one-hour cloud DVR. Small, themed packages of channels, such as Sports, News, and Entertainment, are available for $3/month. The net result is that it takes $5/month to subscribe to one package, $8/month for two, and so forth. Some individual channels are a la carte for $1 or more. Want more cloud DVR space? Twelve hours for $4 looks like the sweet spot, but you can pay for more or less.

For that price, subscribers get to watch their channels pretty much anywhere. KlowdTV is available on Roku, Amazon FireTV, AppleTV, Chromecast, PC and Mac browsers, and the KlowdTV app for iOS and Android. I like using my Roku to put the eScapes smooth jazz and landscapes channel on my big screen.

The catch? There’s no ESPN in KlowdTV’s Sports and no CNN in its News. Sports includes Gol TV, Fight Network, FightBox, and three other channels. News has Bloomberg, Newsmax, One America, and four international channels. The other packages have similar mixes of competent, not-so-mainstream offerings.

O’Hara was especially proud of his Spanish-language packages. For example, KlowdTV’s 11 Mexican channels compare to SlingTV‘s 12-channel Best of Spanish TV, but the KlowdTV customer would pay $5/month vs. $25 to SlingTV. There are more channels included in that $25, but that’s the point. In an ideal world, an OTT subscriber would stack small packages and a la carte channels to pay for exactly what he wanted and nothing more.

The FCC has been talking about regulating OTT distributors as similar to cable and satellite pay-TV companies, although the FCC is still moving very slowly on that front. If KlowdTV gets the chance to negotiate like Comcast, maybe we could see dozens of little bundles.

When I subscribed to DishWorld (now Sling International) a couple of years ago, I knew I was using a beta of the Next Big Thing. Will KlowdTV become the Next Next Big Thing? Time will tell.

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Virtual reality came to life at NAB