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Orby TV plans TV Everywhere support by end of year, exec says

The satellite startup has won over viewers who want top-tier programming at low prices. But its customers are still tethered to the TV set, a limitation that will soon be lifted.

The satellite startup has won over viewers who want top-tier programming at low prices. But its customers are still tethered to the TV set, a limitation that will soon be lifted.

(Image: Orby TV / Graphic: The Desk)

Satellite TV upstart Orby TV is planning to add support for some TV network-specific apps that supplement channels carried by the service.

The feature, known as TV Everywhere, allows pay TV customers to access network programming via separate streaming apps using their cable or satellite login credentials.

Launched in 2019, Orby TV offers nearly 50 pay TV channels for $40 a month, with more than a dozen other channels available for an extra $10 a month. Add-on premium movie channels from HBO, Cinemax, Starz and Epix are also available.

Though cable and satellite companies have long used TV Everywhere as a way to encourage customers from “cutting the cord,” Orby TV entered the market without support for the feature. But in an interview with The Desk last month, Orby TV chief executive Michael Thornton said the satellite startup expects to offer the feature to its customers by the end of the year.

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Thornton didn’t say which networks might have TV Everywhere when the feature becomes available. Orby TV currently offers channels from ViacomCBS (Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Paramount Network), Discovery Networks (Discovery, Animal Planet, Science Channel), AT&T WarnerMedia (CNN, TBS, TNT, Cartoon Network), A+E Networks (A&E, Lifetime, History Channel, Vice), AMC Networks (AMC, IFC, BBC America, BBC World News) and a handful of other programmers.

Orby TV Chief Executive Officer Michael Thornton
Michael Thornton, the CEO of satellite TV startup Orby TV. (Photo: Orby TV/Handout)

Thornton says Orby TV has seen a significant amount of momentum as the cord-cutting trend continues. While cable, satellite and some streaming TV companies struggle under the weight of programming costs driven higher by local broadcast and cable sports channels, Orby offers customers a budget-friendly alternative by curating a selection of top-tier channels coupled with a free over-the-air antenna for local channels.

One advantage to Orby TV over streaming services is the platform’s independence from broadband Internet, which allows customers to keep their boxes on without worrying about throttled Internet speeds or broadband data caps.

“We’ve continued on our path of offering value-conscious television at a reasonable price without having to have Internet,” Thornton said. “It’s a message that seems to be resonating.”

Along with TV Everywhere support, Thornton says Orby TV continues to field requests from customers who want certain channels added to the lineup.

“Every network is someone’s favorite network,” Thornton said. “We obviously think about the value-conscious market. I’ve always said, if you really have to have a specific channel that we don’t carry, we’re probably not the platform for you.”

But a lot of people find Orby TV to be the perfect platform for them: Thornton declined to specify the number of customers who have signed up for Orby TV since last year, but he said the company is quickly approaching its break-even point.

“There’s lots and lots of great programming,” Thornton said. “If someone’s not able to watch this show on this network, they’re going to just watch another show on another network.”

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is a nationally-recognized, award-winning journalist who has covered the business of media, technology, radio and television for more than 10 years. He is the publisher of The Desk and contributes to Know Techie, Digital Content Next and StreamTV Insider. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, the Walt Disney Company, McNaughton Newspapers and Tribune Broadcasting.
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