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Former Insight execs resurface at software firm

Tue, 09/11/2012 - 3:31pm
Mike Robuck

Michael Willner and Sidney Knafel, who co-founded and ran Insight Communications prior to its sale earlier this year to Time Warner Cable, have transitioned into new leadership positions at software firm Penthera Partners.

With Willner as CEO and Knafel as chairman, Insight Communications was the nation’s ninth-largest cable operator – with systems in Louisville, Bowling Green and northern Kentucky; in parts of Columbus, Ohio; and in parts of Evansville, Ind. – prior to Time Warner Cable closing on its $3 billion deal in February to buy Insight.

Willner is now CEO of Penthera, while Knafel will serve as the company’s vice chairman.

“I’ve devoted my career to delivering reliable, innovative TV and broadband services to U.S. consumers,” Willner said. “Now consumers are shifting their viewing habits – they’re viewing, creating and sharing video on smartphones, tablets and other Internet-enabled devices. With its rich portfolio of products and IP, Penthera is uniquely poised to help the cable industry and other technology companies roll out innovative IP-based video solutions.”

Penthera Partners is a privately held software firm whose customers have included Tier 1 global device manufacturers and network operators. The company has developed a patented software engine that efficiently moves HD video between the cloud and smartphones, tablets and IP-enabled set-top boxes.

Willner has enjoyed a distinguished career in the cable industry, including serving two terms as chairman of the NCTA. As an industry advocate, he testified regularly before Congress on communications issues. He was honored by the cable industry in 2004 with its Distinguished Leadership Vanguard Award and was named to the Cable Center Hall of Fame.

“Our transition to a new media technology company, which is focused on next-generation consumer experiences, is the next logical step for us. I have always focused on new, relevant products and services that benefit consumers,” Willner said.

Penthera develops patented technology that facilitates the delivery of rich content over cable TV and wireless networks to mobile devices. One product, Ribit, is a cloud-based video sharing service that’s available in the Apple Store. Another product, Virtuoso, delivers HD video to a smartphone or tablet for later playout.

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