Ora.TV, Aereo: Moguls Carlos Slim, Barry Diller Jumpstart Internet TV

IPTV is finally at the cusp of the big time, and Mexican magnate Carlos Slim, the world’s richest human, is pushing it forward with Ora.TV. Here’s our Larry Press with his analysis.

IPTV has long been on the horizon. And this week’s announcement of Ora.TV from billionaire Carlos Slim and co-founder Larry King, the vet TV talkshow,  just rams that nascent tech ever closer to home.

Or wherever you are.

The arrival of Internet TV on mobile devices, Web TVs and digital devices in general isn’t just inevitable. It’s practically here.

That’s despite distributors charging premium prices for arbitrary bundles of TV bits and the old school networks suing  new IPTV players like Barry Diller’s Aereo. I never expected any of them to go down without a fight.  But with Diller and Slim putting their hearts and wallets behind it, that fight is going to be futile.

Check this out.

A Mexican telecommunication magnate with global investments, including a seven-percent stake in The New York Times, Slim has topped the Forbes list of the world’s wealthiest individuals for three years now.

Slim and King say Ora will produce original video programming — for smartphones, desktops and IP-connected TVs — and viewers in New York and soon, other major cities, will see it this year.

The time is right.

Jon Housman, the former head of digital journalism at Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., is CEO of the the New York-based effort. In a statement, Slim said his wireless provider, America Movil, is a prime mover in the project.

Ora.tv is in serious talks with distribution and tech partners, Slim said this week. Translation: Apple, Google, Microsoft and any tech or TV production player that is able to see the inevitable is in talks or somehow involved.

“Ora.TV represents a great opportunity,” Slim said in a statement. His $69 billion fortune sure won’t hurt in turning IPTV, once a niche platform, into a reality I’ve been waiting for.

It is a category that “is primed for exponential growth,” the Mexican magnate said.

King called it a “bold new model for digital television.” Housman said the time is right — it is “an incredible moment to be launching a digital network and studio,” he said.

If anyone has the gusto and resources to do battle with the likes of the Time-Warners and Verizons of the world, it’s Slim.

Slim is just the latest magnate to turn his attention to IPTV, which is ramping up like there’s tomorrow. The last two months have been especially pivotal. Consider:

  • In February media mogul Barry Diller invested in Aereo, a startup that plans to deliver broadcast TV over the Internet with a proprietary antenna technology.
  • At the LeWeb conference in France, Google Chair Eric Schmidt was cheerleading the cause, too. His aim is that, by this year’s end, most TVs sold in the U.S. and Europe would have Google TV bundled.
  • Apple is gunning for IPTV, too. In his biography, late Apple Co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs boasted that he had “cracked TV“. Internet TV, that is.
  • Upstart Roku is expanding in an enormous fundraising effort.

Existing IPTV players, alone in the game for so long, are making bold moves, too.

Google, Hulu and Netflix all are moving into content creation — as is Amazon, which reportedly is putting together a staff to create original video content.

IPTV investors like Barry Diller and Carlos Slim have the money and courage to push this tech ahead even faster. IPTV is out of the bag and it isn’t going away. Not with this kind of money involved. These guys play to win.

Watch as the distinction between so-called Internet data and TV content shatters into static — and launches a whole new way to watch TV. Slim’s Ora.tv and Diller’s Aereo are both debuting in New York and will be available in major U.S. cities this year.

Stay tuned.


  • I’m rooting for the networks to come to their senses and offer a la carte programming. My main concern is I want live sports when it’s on. Not just major championships, but the ability to get general live sports such as the games out of my region only provided by cable co’s.

    -RAP, II

  • I agree — I don’t think the incumbents will disappear, but this sort of thing will cause them to modify their offerings and business models in the long run.

    I am lucky enough to be able to get local channels over the air for sports, but folks in New York who are surrounded by tall buildings might need a service like Aereo.

    My big worry is the Tour de France coming up this summer. I hope Versus does an Internet stream of their cable TV coverage!