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Personalized TV, at Your Service
by Sheila Shayon
August 6, 2010

An all-in-one TV service without a subscription to cable or satellite TV. Sezmi delivers local and cable TV, movies, web videos, and an on-demand catalog of shows and movies. Its next-generation DVR allows users to pause live TV, record two channels simultaneously, and store up to 1,400 hours of programming.


As of this week, Sezmi is available in 36 U.S. markets. How it works: a proprietary remote, color-coded by individual "mi" buttons, organizes your preferred shows in a customized TV interface. It’s available in two packages:

Sezmi Select Plus: offers local channels, a wide selection of cable networks, web videos and thousands of on-demand shows and movies ($19.99/month).

Sezmi Select: everything Select Plus offers minus cable channels ($4.99/month).

Following its debut in Los Angeles, Sezmi quickly rolled out to 10 cities (available at Best Buy) before its current 36.

In a rapidly evolving era when U.S. cable and satellite operators are competing fiercely to deliver personalized, portable TV, Sezmi offers a fresh alternative at a fraction of the cost.

As Phil Wiser, Sezmi's co-founder and president notes, “The Sezmi personalized experience makes our rapidly expanding collection of content uniquely accessible and easily discoverable on the primary television screen. Our ability to automatically organize and display content for each individual in the household is a real game changer.” Brandchannel spoke with Travis Parsons, senior director of business development for Sezmi, to find out more, including the brand's market positioning and plans.

BC: Are you competing directly with Time Warner and Comcast?

TP: Sezmi offers an improved value-proposition to disappointed customers. We’re the only service that offers all the next-generation platforms bundled with easy access.

BC: What was the biggest challenge in developing Sezmi?

TP: Combining the innovative vision of a premium, low-cost end-to-end TV service with the right content and delivery partnerships, and the best technology. It was all about the partnerships.

And second, changing consumer behavior. There is pain around TV viewing – consumers all feel they’re paying too much for cable or satellite.

BC: How long has Sezmi been in development and how much has been invested to date?

TP: Four years and about $75 million. It’s a privately-held company with strong VC backing. It’s the management team that’s so impressive. It combines expertise from Apple, Bell Labs, Sony Music, NBC and Morganthaler.

BC: What’s the key selling point to consumers?

TP: Customization. The consumer can watch what they want, when and where they want – at a fraction of the cost. And – the hand-held, personalized remote. But the crown jewel is really the package itself: self-install, wireless reception, infrastructure, and great content partnerships.

And in addition to all that, Sezmi fills the void all the national retailers, telcos, and ISP’s have in their current offerings. Retailers like Best Buy want to grow their business and Sezmi is a good wholesale TV service they can bundle and co-brand.

Telcos have already developed voice and internet protocols, but they lack a television service. They can partner with satellite companies but Sezmi allows them to triple or quadruple their play for customer retention, and there’s no huge upfront. And the ISPs also lack a TV service – an end-to-end solution.

BC: How quickly will this disruptive technology penetrate the (U.S.) market?

TP: Sezmi is moving very fast. The others will adjust their offerings – but it will take time – they have legacy infrastructure which impedes them.

Telcos have already developed voice and internet protocols, but they lack a television service. They can partner with satellite companies but Sezmi allows them to triple or quadruple their play for customer retention, and there’s no huge upfront. And the ISPs also lack a TV service – an end-to-end solution.

BC: How quickly will this disruptive technology penetrate the (U.S.) market?

TP: Sezmi is moving very fast. The others will adjust their offerings – but it will take time – they have legacy infrastructure which impedes them.

With savvy advisors such as former NBC (and current Bloomberg TV) executive Andy Lack on its board, Sezmi has the chops to develop a unique brand — now, it just needs the marketing support to establish consumer awareness. Find out more on Sezmi's website and in the video demo below:


Sheila Shayon is a senior media executive with 25+ years in television and new media including expertise in programming, production, broadband, start-up models, creative and branding strategies, digital content and social networking. Shayon has worked for HBO, Time Warner Cable and Wisdom Television. She graduated Magna Cum Laude, University of Pennsylvania with a B.A. in Communication from the Annenberg School for Communication. Currently, as President/Founder of Third Eye Media, a New York-based multimedia production company, Shayon works with online brands to combine editorial content and social networking applications.

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