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Online TV Provider FilmOn Turns to Niche Channels
4/6/2011


LOS ANGELES: Online TV provider FilmOn today said it added 22 channels to its line-up. FilmOn launched last fall, around the same time as ivi.tv, another online TV provider sued by broadcast networks for picking up signals without first securing carriage deals. Both claimed the right to do so under copyright law. The courts disagreed and enjoined both from retransmitting broadcast TV signals.

The channels announced today are all niche nets carried either cable, satellite, digital broadcast subchannels or online: Biz Television; Bohemia Visual Music, Create TV; Dayton Area Sports Television (which shows up nowhere online except for in the FilmOn press release); Fashion TV, Frost Cutlery, a knife shopping network and others. Perhaps the most well-known and widely distributed networks added to the FilmOn line-up are Jewelry TV, NASA TV and the Wine Channel.

CBS, Fox, ABC and NBC sued FilmOn for retransmitting signals and won a restraining order last October. Founder Alki David has since said he planned to counter sue on the grounds that CNET, a subsidiary of CBS, distributes BitTorrent software, according to Zero Paid. ivi.tv was issued a restraining order in February by the same judge who issued the one to FlimOn, Judge Naomi Buchwald of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. The Seattle-based streamer said it would appeal in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. (See “Broadcast Signal Streamer ivi.tv Plans Appeal.”)

ivi’s schedule no longer lists major broadcast network programming, though it does list at least one over-the-air station available for the Los Angeles market, KTFL-CA, a low power station in San Francisco. FilmOn lists KTLA-TV, Tribune’s L.A.-based CW station; KOCE-TV, a Los Angeles PBS affiliate; KVCR-TV the San Bernardino, Calif. PBS; KRCA-TV, the L.A. flagship Estrella TV station; and ION Television.

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