Open Sezmi: All-in-One TV Service Tested

Sezmi

Sezmi Corp. is the latest technology/media company wanting to make things easy for heavy media consumers -- and for TV advertisers as well.

The company will soon start selling one set-top box and service that will take care of traditional TV, DVR, broadband and media-sharing needs. "We are the first people that are really bringing it together," says Phil Wiser, president and co-founder of Sezmi.

Starting up in the Los Angeles area soon, Sezmi will give a select number of TV area consumers -- around 1,000 or so -- a free, limited subscription. The company's aim is to fully roll out nationwide in the first quarter of 2010.

On the Sezmi system, viewers can pull up NBC, YouTube or other video sources. Executives call Sezmi a "hybrid-broadcast-broadband" network.

The Sezmi home system uses local digital TV spectrum in each market through an indoor antenna and a broadband line. It will soon announce deals with telcos and major retailers that will help sell and market the system.

Personalized functions on Sezmi remote controls will enable Sezmi to give marketers what they always wanted. "We will target the advertisers' base on [key] individuals," says Wiser.

For many navigation pages, Wiser says "the advertising capability comes with clickable, Web-like banners ads," says Wiser. "We have pre-roll and interstitial ads for the on-demand programming."

Part of the Sezmi allows users to put content into theme "zones." "We also have 'zones' centered around content brands. You can link to those zones throughout the service," says Wiser.

For instance, he says while watching a program on the Discovery Channel, a user can tap into a zone to see other similar programs, VOD content or promotions. "The beauty for Discovery is that it can then upsell to consumers to things like season passes and other types of premium content," he says.

The set-top box can be bought for $299 or leased for $10-$12 per month. The initial service, Sezmi Select, includes over-the-air broadcast signals, DVR service and access to the VOD service. It goes for $4.95 per month, with extra fees for the VOD offerings.

The upgrade system Sezmi Supreme also includes about two dozen cable networks -- as well as an expanded array of VOD programming -- priced at $24.96.

Broadcast networks include ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, My Network, CW, Telefutura, Telemundo and Univision. Cable networks are: Bravo, Animal Planet, Discovery, Planet Green, Comedy Central, MSNBC, VH1, Cartoon Network, MTV, Nickelodeon, TLC, USA, CNN, Science, CNBC, Oxygen, SyFy, HLN, Boomerang, TNT, TruTV, TBS and TCM.

Sezmi also has studio deals for individual content and/or video on demand: Paramount Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Lionsgate, Sony, Universal Studios, MGM and Warner Bros., along with Sonic Solutions' Roxio CinemaNow service.

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