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Friday Q&A: Mike Harris CEO of AnySource Media

Malvern-based AnySource Media thinks it has a good guess about the future direction of online video. The company, founded in 2006, provides software to TV manufacturers that allows consumers to pull their favorite Internet content directly to their television. If you had AnySource’s technology on your TV and hooked-up to the Web, you could order […]

mikeharris-headshotMalvern-based AnySource Media thinks it has a good guess about the future direction of online video. The company, founded in 2006, provides software to TV manufacturers that allows consumers to pull their favorite Internet content directly to their television.
If you had AnySource’s technology on your TV and hooked-up to the Web, you could order movies, browse your favorite video content and even purchase products without getting your computer involved.
The company, started by former Ravisent Technologies employees, recently closed a $3.2 million funding round provided entirely by local investors and is anticipating its debut and first revenue later this year. We sat down with CEO Mike Harris to discuss how his company makes money without charging TV makers, what he thinks of Boxee and his fight against the West coast. Oh yeah, and he’s hiring.
What does AnySourceMedia do?
We are all about providing a technology platform that provides a wide range of video content and other media content directly from the Internet into consumer electronic devices such as HDTV sets. Basically, [we want to] cut out any PC or middleman and stream video from a wide range of sources.
We’re kind of the behind the scenes technology enabler built inside the device, and then we have software that is out in the cloud that manages interactions with all of these content partners that we have.
So you sell the software to TV makers?
We don’t really sell it to the TV guys. We license it to them at basically no cost, and we generate our revenue through advertising and commission transactions that happen through our platform.
What kind of transactions?
Like renting a movie, subscribing to a service and even ultimately purchasing hard goods. Such as: you’re watching a movie on DVD and you want to buy the box set.
anysource-media_ivn_tvDo you guys view something like Boxee as competition?
It’s not completely different, it is in the space. It’s a very different approach to the business model and a very different approach to how they build their technology and how they create relationships. Conceptually, there are some similarities in the problems that we are solving, and that is bringing Internet video to people on a big screen TV.
I mean, they are doing it through a PC platform or hacked third-party boxes but we’re working with top-tier consumer electronics companies to embed it right in at manufacturing time … We’re only focused on doing deals with top-tier content providers. So we don’t get into the same kind of struggles with Hulu that they do for example.
Do you have a favorite video podcast?
I cant say that I have a favorite, we see a lot of different stuff … I like it all, as long as they agree to work with us [laughs].
So you have deals with content partners?
We have a wide range of traditional partners [that we talk to], the cable networks and broadcast networks, about taking everything from mainstream content to behind-the-scenes looks and new channels they are coming out with. But we’re also talking to new Internet channels. Guys like nextnewnetworks or OnNetworks. There’s a bunch of up and coming Internet-only channels. We are also seeing pretty interesting pick up in traditional print media. So magazines, newspapers … guys that have enough video content, but not enough to get on a regular cable channel. But they are really interested in new ways to make money based on what’s happening in print media.
What makes you TechnicallyPhilly?
I moved here in ’91. I’ve lived here longer than anywhere else. So, this is home. My wife was born and raised in Bucks County, we have a core group of people that are either Philly natives, or have lived here for a significant period of time.
We’re happy and proud to be part of this Philly community, so we’re doing some interesting stuff and growing. We’re always looking for talented people.
So you guys are hiring?
Yes, locally. We’re not trying to outsource to some foreign country … we’re trying to fight the good fight against the West coast.
Every Friday, Technically Philly brings an interview with a leader or innovator in Philadelphia’s technology community. See others here.

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