Start-up targets cable's hospitality business
TiVus now has available its system for replacing hotel entertainment systems, directly challenging MVPDs that provide pay-TV services to the hospitality industry.
TiVus' twist is that it provides its system at no cost to hotels; it makes money with ad insertion, with ad revenue shared with the hotels.
TiVus' system is called e-SmartRoom, which it describes as a complete HD IPTV in-room Internet and entertainment solution. It makes use of installed coax, and it comes complete with 42" flat-screen HDTVs for every room.
Hotel guests get unlimited in-room movie rentals, free-to-guest HD channels, iPad interfaces, secure wireless internet (multiple devices) and access to an in-room printer (including fax).
In addition to sharing ad insertion revenue, TiVus will also share with its hotel customers proceeds from VOD and fees for wireless Internet access.
The company has yet to officially announce any customers, but it has multiple points of contact with the Marriott hotel empire. Its first demonstration of its system earlier this month was with Host Hotels & Resorts, a corporate offshoot of Marriott International run by Richard Marriott (Host Hotels now also controls several Sheraton, Westin and other hotels). A cousin of the Marriott hoteliers, Doug Marriott, is a TiVus advisor, and yet another Marriott, Phil, is the company's executive vice president of sales.