Onstream Media of Pompano Beach, Florida, has signed a definitive merger agreement to acquire Narrowstep. An Internet television company, Narrowstep was founded in the United Kingdom, and later backed by David McCourt, formerly CEO of RCN, a telephone company that attempted to deliver bundled Internet, phone, and television service to consumers. McCourt is Narrowstep’s CEO.
Calls to Narrowstream (OCTBB: NRWS) and to Onstream Media (Nasdaq: ONSM) were not returned by press time, but it appears that staff reductions at Narrowstream’s Carnegie Center headquarters will occur if the deal, which has to be approved by shareholders, goes through. In announcing the acquistion, Onstream said: “Both companies have agreed to immediately execute a restructuring plan desinged to significantly reduce or eliminate substantial costs related to Narrowstep’s facility leases, public company and headquarters costs, and other professional fees and services.”
Narrowstep has developed technology to “recreate the television-like experience either on the desktop computer screen or through the home television.”
Its clients include Virgin Media, which uses Narrowstep’s technology to broadcast programming to its United Kingdom viewers. Virgin uses an ad-supported model, delivering content free to broadband users. Other clients are Fox International, Georgetown University, terratv, the Outdoor Channel, and BabyTV.
BabyTV is a good example of how fragmented and free of the traditional networks “television” can be. Parents can log on to the website at any time and can start to play high quality videos on everything from baby exercises to bedtime stories. Roll a mouse over each video’s icon and a one-paragraph description pops up. There are user reviews, too.
Growing exponentially, IPTV, as the Internet/television hybrid is called, is still in its infancy, but is expected to grow into a $42 billion industry in the next five years.
Narrowstep (NRWS), 202 Carnegie Center, Third Floor, Princeton 08540; 609-945-1760; fax, 609-945-1776. David C. McCourt, chair and interim ceo. www.narrowstep.com.