Intel OTT service already in closed trials

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SAN FRANCISCO -- New details about Intel's (Nasdaq: INTC) over-the-top pay-TV service came to light this week. Intel is testing the service with employees in three western markets, CNET reported Tuesday. The company is learning a lot from those tests and will use the data it gathers from them to improve the service before introducing it later this year, Eric Free, Intel Media's vice president and general manager of content services, said at the TV of Tomorrow show here.

"We're getting a lot of really rich learnings and we're seeing how people interact with content in this new navigation paradigm," Free said. "We're using that to create a better product."

Intel is on track to introduce its over-the-top service later this year, Free said, but he would not discuss details about what programming it has licensed or how much work remains ahead. "We're very confident we'll get the content we need to launch later this year," he said.

Intel has been at work on this new service for more than 18 months and has already made significant progress working with the traditional media industry, Free said. For example, until very recently, Nielsen, the company providing TV ratings to networks and advertisers, didn't include homes with over-the-top-only viewing in its ratings and tallies of total U.S. TV households.

On the content side, talks continue, Free said: "We're engaged with everybody in this space and we're moving along." The company has reportedly been struggling to sign deals with content owners, even at high premiums to what traditional distributors pay.

Intel has high hopes for the service, Free said, adding that the company is planning to roll it out market-by-market. "You can imagine that we'll start small and grow big as quickly as we can," he said. "Intel doesn't do anything small, and we wouldn't be doing this if we didn't think we could make a significant dent in the marketplace."

For more:
CNET had this story
Barron's had this column

Commentary: Why Aereo's legal battle is important to Intel and Sky Angel

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