FilmOn to disrupt TV with new streaming channels
FilmOn.com, the firm founded by controversial billionaire Alki David, has today added hundreds of new channels to its video streaming platform as it looks to further disrupt traditional TV.
FilmOn users can now stream BBC One, ITV and Channel 4 for free on the site, along with around 200 other live channels.
FilmOn now claims to be the "world's largest free provider of internet television", with more channels and video on-demand than rival streaming services TVCatchup and Netflix combined.
In addition to the free channels, FilmOn has also agreed content deals with the likes of Fox to offer various pay-per-view channels and video on-demand titles.
FilmOn.com was founded in 2006 by Alki David, the heir to the Coca-Cola Hellenic shipping and bottling company, who has a net worth of $1.7 billion.
In addition to launching various businesses and enterprises, he also dabbles with acting, and has appeared in movie The Bank Job with Jason Statham and TV shows Trial & Retribution and Waking the Dead.
David is known for his rather outrageous stunts, including offering $1m in 2010 to anyone who streaked in front of President Barack Obama, and putting up a $10m purse for a boxing match between musicians Chris Brown and Drake. He counts Ice T and Charlie Sheen among his friends.
Speaking today at a FilmOn launch event in London, David said: "Whether you're interested in news and sport or movies and entertainment, FilmOn has something for everyone."
"We carry a total of 200 live TV channels, plus 500 video & audio podcasts from premium brands, including 45,000 new show titles that have been cleared for worldwide distribution.
"We even have Premier League highlights of classic games via FilmOn Football - all free and straight to your desktop, mobile or tablet."
FilmOn captures the signals of TV broadcasters, and then re-transmits them using a worldwide network to subscribers and users online and on connected devices.
Aside the free channels, FilmOn.com offers subscription packages giving access to over 120 streaming TV channels, and is understood to make over $24m a year through subscriptions.
Users can record their favourite shows, with two hours' free storage, and the company offers a FilmOn app to stream content on Apple, Android or Windows 8 devices. The app also comes pre-loaded on select Lenovo products.
A spokesperson for the company says it pays a licence fee 'where appropriate or needed', although that varies with each channel.
But FilmOn has been consistently targeted by US broadcasters CBS, NBC and ABC over alleged copyright infringement.
A judge in California recently granted the US broadcasters' a motion for preliminary injunction against FilmOn, but that only applies within the United States and David has also lodged an appeal.
The Hollywood Reporter believes that the case could get escalated to the US Supreme Court, which could set the 'future course of TV streaming'.
Users in the UK are warned that they require a television licence to watch live TV channels on FilmOn, such as BBC and ITV, regardless of whether they are consuming them on a laptop or mobile device.