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FourthWall Plays Doctor With Set-Top Data

Date: 
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Author: 
Mari Silbey

Five years after interactive TV company BIAP reinvented itself as FourthWall Media, the technology vendor is breaking ground again with a new set-top data service.

The MassiveData division of FourthWall Media Inc. has introduced Precision Diagnostics as a tool for leveraging set-top data to diagnose and monitor physical plant performance and prevent customer service disruptions. According to the company, the new product provides information on set-top model, frequency and signal levels, DVR and VoD service, crash and reset status, and more.

FourthWall has gained significant traction since 2012 as an independent provider of set-top viewing data. With an approach that rivals or complements the The Nielsen Co. ratings system -- depending on how you look at it -- the company's MassiveData TV viewer index collects second-by-second data from more than 4.5 million cable subscribers. FourthWall then sells that data to programmers and advertisers, who use it to target specific TV audiences. (SeeFourthWall Nips at Nielsen.)

With Precision Diagnostics, however, FourthWall is taking a different tack. The diagnostic tool is designed for cable operators, hitting on an area that service providers are keen to address. Set-top monitoring systems can help operators both improve customer service and avoid expensive truck rolls.

FourthWall Media isn't the only company to take on set-top performance monitoring. Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS), for example, offers service assurance solutions for its own set-tops and gateways. However, FourthWall Media Senior Vice President Charlie Barnes says, "The market for cable system diagnostic data and reporting for set-tops is underserved as many operators have either limited access to diagnostic data or the tools to analyze it."

FourthWall Media expects to debut Precision Diagnostics commercially in January 2015.

— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading