Why are TV programs in Taiwan so terrible? Like Brokeback Mountain, everyone has an answer in mind. You can blame rating algorithm, rigid regulations for discouraging competition (or loose regulations for corporate profits), and even consumers for bad tastes. In the end, however, it’s useless to blame everyone. I always believe we live with results, and pointing others doesn’t change anything. Changes only start from ourselves. miiiCasa founder Jolios Lin (林志強) hopes to take back power with miiiTVservice and hardware.
Different from smart TVs or Android Box, miiiTV is a cloud TV platform completely developed in Taiwan. Based on online experiences, it aims to create a user-centered TV ecosystem, with services include mobile applications, TV set-top box and TV subsequently released. The application has topped the entertainment list in Google Play store, and TV Box and Smart TV joined promotional campaign with PCHome magazine in January.
As a theorist, I ask Jolios the entrepreneur about how he imagines media reform.
Contents on miiiTV are mainly sourced from YouTube and other online video websites. Are there any exclusive contents?
We do this for a reason. miiiTV doesn’t want to follow the path of several video apps in China as unauthorized content broadcaster. We develop miiiTV with more diverse and global contents. Copyright is a major issue in this industry. Most developed countries do not agree with Chinese-style development model. We pay extra attention on content, as we plan to expand internationally.
Are you planning to offer exclusive contents?
Yes. OTT platform will be added to our system with subscription services for unique contents. We are also negotiating with multiple copyright owners.
Quite a few set-top boxes from China are introduced to Taiwan. How do you think about it?
miiiTV already collaborates with TCL in China on system technology. All issues related to these Chinese STB go back to copyrights. Chinese government currently issues seven online video content licenses. All others are unauthorized. Based on comments and feedbacks on Google Play and iTunes, many users outside China are unable to access contents anymore, and quality is inconsistent.
This is the best time for miiiTV to me. This market is not fully explored in Taiwan, and video contents have regional preferences. That’s why we are confident in market competition.
miiitv looks similar to Flipboard with videos. What will you do to increase community curation?
Currently we encourage users to be managers to compile contents in multiple approaches. In the next stage, we’ll focus on sharing and user-generated videos.
On the development side, platform compatibility is prioritized. We have reached quite a few agreements with SmartTV, smartphone, tablet, IPTV, operation system platform and gaming device manufacturers. They will be pre-loaded with our services in the future. We expect to reach one million users by the end of this year.
Where does your funding come from?
miiiTV is a product of miiiCasa. Our US$8 million capital mainly come from executives, three listed companies (D-Link, Ali and Zero One Tech) and two venture capitals.
We don’t regard miiiTV as STB or online video provider, but aim to change TV with internet. I have mentioned in a post,
“Imagine one day TV without violent contents, boring politicians or dumb journalists, but dramas and films you prefer, cartoons and contents kids enjoy, online viral videos, technology updates and latest game information. You can play whatever you like. TV channels do not have to be the same.
When we revolutionize TV channels, we can change the industry. Programs will no longer be marginalized due to low ratings, political inclination or limited profit margins, because we own these channels. In an open and free internet system, we retain ownership, and create new systems and culture without invisible hands.”
It’s by no means easy to transform public awareness. Deep-rooted habits stop people from changes, and complicated steps are not helpful. As more people are comfortable with “the second screen”, it’s gradually acceptable to control TV via smartphone and tablet applications. miiiTV need to offer competitive contents and pricing to persuade users in Taiwan, and as soon as possible, especially since vendors in China, Apple TV and Google Chromecast are moving fast. I admire their attempt to change, but their next steps are pivotal as well.
Translated from: 台灣：要靠社群策展掀起電視革命的miiiTV
Editor’s Note: This post first appeared on PunNode, TechNode’s partner in Taiwan.