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NextGen pay TV service Evoca to shut down

Company that used ATSC 3.0 signals to deliver broadcast and cable channels to subscribers ran out of cash.

Company that used ATSC 3.0 signals to deliver broadcast and cable channels to subscribers ran out of cash.

Evoca, a pay television service that used ATSC 3.0 broadcast signals to deliver broadcast and some cable networks to subscribers in a handful of markets, says it will shut down over the weekend after it ran out of cash.

For weeks, the company has issued warning flares noting that it might have to close down its operation if it was unable to raise more money to continue going.

As recently as this week, things appeared to be turning around for Evoca, with the company’s CEO Tod Achilles telling the Radio & Television Business Report that Evoca was close to securing a new round of funding to keep operations going for a little whiel longer.

“We are continuing to work on funding and hope to close by end of this week,” Achilles told the publication.

Launched in 2020, Evoca was the first startup to utilize newer technologies offered by ATSC 3.0, also known as NextGen TV, to deliver encrypted, pay television channels over broadcast signals. The service rolled out with limited access in Boise, Idaho before eventually growing to serve customers across five states.

One big selling point for Evoca is that it offered cord-cutters — those who moved away from traditional cable and satellite services — access to regional sports networks in some of the markets where the product was offered. Those regional sports networks, including Altitude Sports and AT&T SportsNet, can be difficult to find on cable-like streaming services.

Evoca was largely upheld as a proof of concept among those promoting ATSC 3.0 as the next big broadcast technology to deliver more choice to consumers across the United States. But while it had its supporters, it didn’t seem to resonate much with consumers: In early December, Evoca began warning customers and investors that it was close to running out of cash, and might have to shut down if it could not raise more money.

On Friday, Evoca’s fate finally caught up with it.

“We are grateful for your support as we challenged the media monopolies to make regional sports and local content more accessible and affordable,” a spokesperson for the service wrote in a notice to customers. “Unfortunately, we could not secure the funding that we need to continue operations into 2023. We must discontinue programming on December 31st, 2022.”

Evoca will stop broadcasting channels on Saturday; subscribers will be allowed to keep any equipment rented from Evoca so they can continue watching over-the-air channels and access streaming services.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).