Livestation Finally Hits iPhone With Live TV Streams

Twenty months after previewing an in-development app that would bring its live TV news service to iPhones, Livestation is finally taking its streaming offering mobile – but it’s resorting to the open web, and not Apple’s application platform.

Livestation, which was started by Skinkers in 2007 using P2P algorithms acquired from Microsoft’s Cambridge R&D in exchange for a 10 percent stake, has instead launched a service at that will include free channels and its growing portfolio of premium stations.

This is a similar move to TVCatchup, the third-party web TV service that once drew controversy by letting users “record” TV shows to its online PVR but which is now re-streaming only live channels and in October launched a mobile web adjunct.

It has 29 general-interest channels while Livestation currently has six (Al Arabiya Arabic, Euronews in English and French, Press TV and RT in English and Arabic). But Livestation CEO Matteo Berlucchi tells paidContent:UK more free channels will be added soon, along with access to the premium channels the service began offering in December for £4.99 a month.

That freemium mix now seems to be the business model for Livestation. Unlike live-stream-app counterpart Zattoo, it has never stuffed ads in the buffer time before a viewer starts seeing a streamed channel.

Though Livestation hasn’t got to launch its own-brand app, it has been white-labelling the software to single-channel apps offered by BBC World News, Al Jazeera and Five.

Berlucchi says Livestation served 45 million video views in 2009 and five million in January, reaching 13 minutes per user session. He plans to make Livestation available on “other IP platforms” in the next few weeks.

“I think the browser will still play an important role in this world populated by an increasing number of apps,” Berlucchi said.