Liberty Global-backed Metrological pitching OTT apps to U.S. operators

By Steve Donohue, for [itvt]

Rotterdam, Netherlands-based technology firm Metrological said it is talking to U.S. cable operators about supplying them with a cloud-based service that could offer subscribers more than 150 interactive applications on their TVs, including over-the-top video services such as YouTube.

Metrological has run under the radar since announcing last September that John Malone’s Liberty Global had become a strategic investor. But it appears that Metrological may be the tech vendor that could power the launch of Netflix TV apps for the largest international cable operator.

Last week, Liberty Global CEO Mike Fries told attendees at The Cable Show in Los Angeles that Liberty was looking at expanding Netflix on TV to additional markets. He noted that Netflix has been popular with subscribers on Liberty’s Virgin Media cable operation in the United Kingdom, where it is offered through an app on TiVo DVRs.

“If you want to watch Netflix, fine – you don’t have to leave our environment. We may do that in other markets,” Fries said.

Metrological CEO Jeroen Ghijsen said that his company is powering Liberty’s launch of TV app stores in several markets. But he declined to comment when asked if Metrological was involved with the Netflix launch on Virgin’s systems, and if Metrological is working with Liberty to launch the top online video service in other markets.

Sander Vonk, the director of ventures at Liberty Global Ventures, holds a seat on Metrological’s board of directors.

Metrological lists several apps on its Web site that it supplies as part of a managed service offering to cable operators, including YouTube, Facebook, Yelp, Rotten Tomatoes, Picasa and Google Maps.

Ghijsen said Metrological shares revenue from the TV apps with content providers and cable operators. The content supplier would receive 70 percent of the revenue. “What is left over will be divided by the operator and Metrological,” he added.

Metrological’s TV app store framework can be delivered through any set-top that can support a Web browser. The company will soon announce a deployment on a set-top that has been in the field for five years, and contains a 400 MHZ processor, Ghijsen said.

Netflix announced last month that mid-sized U.S. cable operators Atlantic Broadband, RCN and Grande Communications would launch Netflix apps this year through TiVo DVRS.

Ghijsen said that Metrological is working with National Cable Television Cooperative CEO Rick Fickler to offer its TV app store framework to Tier 2 and Tier 3 providers.