Detroit’s Ubi Video Offers Smaller Cable Providers a Way to Compete

The only shows I watch on regular TV anymore are sporting events. I’m an avid consumer of television, particularly those shows in the HBO-Showtime-AMC stable, but appointment television has become a thing of the past as I’ve discovered the joys of on-demand and its magnificent pause and fast-forward buttons. On Thanksgiving, I took my TV viewing habits to a new level. I turned off the Detroit Lions in favor of the Dillon Panthers because I was deep into binge-watching the entire “Friday Night Lights” series and, well, when’s the last time the Lions won on Thanksgiving?

Turns out my style of TV consumption is becoming the norm, and Detroit startup Ubi Video has developed a platform to revolutionize the way smaller cable providers deliver content. Ubi has drawn the attention of Silicon Valley investors, and a few weeks ago, co-founder and CEO James Norman spoke to me from a fundraising trip to San Francisco.

Ubi Video started as a video content aggregator, a “Pandora for video,” Norman said. But as Ubi has refined its aggregation platform, the company has also undergone a slight pivot in order to tackle what it sees as problems in the television ecosystem, particularly for cable providers not named Xfinity.

Ubi Video started when five guys quit their jobs in Los Angeles and moved back to Detroit to launch a startup. They found an office in Rivertown and began building their product. Ubi Video, which is in its public beta launch now, curates a daily list of video content pulled from places around the web like Hulu and YouTube. Ubi also allows users to create shortcuts to favorite shows, launchable from a computer or smartphone, and share what they’re watching on Facebook and Twitter.

Earlier this year, Ubi Video was chosen to participate in San Francisco’s NewME accelerator program, which was created to support minority entrepreneurs. Norman was interested in NewME because, as he said in a Grow Detroit blog post, he … Next Page »

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