BNI Video Enters Fray with Big Backing

By Cindy Waxer October 12, 2010

In yet another effort to bring some Web 2.0 to your set-top box, BNI Video, a software company backed by Cisco, Comcast Interactive Capital, and Time Warner Cable, has entered the fray today. The company made its debut by announcing the launch of a video control plane that lets video service providers (VSPs) in the cable, telecommunications and wireless industries get a leg-up on service delivery flexibility, scalability, velocity and reliability by adding functions like search or social networking to TV services. 

BNI Video isn’t your average struggling, cash-strapped start-up. The company has raised more than $16 million from its industry backers, as well as from venture capital firms Charles River Ventures and Castile Ventures.

Because consumers are accessing TV services from a wide range of devices these days, BNI’s video control plane aims to help operators extend their services to incorporate different forms of content from multiple sources. The result, promises BNI on its website, is “reduced operational costs and complexity, expanded monetization opportunities, and more compelling end user viewing experiences.”

“BNI’s technology has the potential to change the game for video service providers,” said Louis Toth, senior managing director at Comcast Interactive Capital, in a statement. “This platform gives providers additional capabilities and greater flexibility to enrich the consumer experience.” 

This isn’t the first time Comcast has attempted to merge social networking and TV. In mid-2008, the company bought Plaxo whose Pulse social network service boasted about 1.5 million active monthly users at the time.

Upon making the acquisition, Plaxo’s blog read: “Joining forces with Comcast is a real win for our customers, our investors, and our employees. Comcast has an exciting vision to bring the social media experience to mainstream consumers. Together, we will be able to help users connect with all the people they care about, across all of the devices they use, with all the media they love to consume, create, and share. This is also great news for the Internet industry at large, where Plaxo has been – and will continue to be – a strong advocate for opening up the social Web.”

Edited by Erin Harrison

TechZone360 Contributing Editor

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