Digital Dealmakers: John Edwards

Feb 19, 2007  •  Post A Comment

The player: John Edwards, CEO of Move Networks, based in American Fork, Utah.

The play: Move Networks helps broadcasters bring their programming online. The company’s software delivers long-form video at the appropriate quality level depending on the end-user’s Internet connection. Move also includes reporting tools and metrics for networks to measure the performance of their shows online.

The pitch: Mr. Edwards said Move software is designed to make second-by-second decisions about how to best deliver the maximum viewing experience, based on the amount of bandwidth available at any given moment. Move delivers video in smaller chunks so the video travels faster. The show is reassembled at the destination. As a result, Move is capable of streaming over the Internet at two megabytes per second or more, which is DVD quality, Mr. Edwards said.

In the mix: Move Networks powers the online video for Fox, E! and The CW. Fox relies on Move to stream its prime-time programs. E! has used Move to serve up its continuous live red-carpet coverage online.

The competition: Move Networks competes with internal efforts by broadcasters, rather than other online TV firms, Mr. Edwards said. “My biggest competitor is the [networks] trying to do it on their own with developers and staff,” he said.

The numbers: Viewers are tuning in and staying put. The average viewer who watches long-form video using Move Networks watches 78 percent of the episode. About 63 percent of the programs Move streams are hour-long shows that average 44 minutes online. The other 37 percent are 30-minute shows, averaging 22 minutes online.

The money guys: Mr. Edwards founded the company in 2001 to download video for media companies. He transitioned Move to handle live streams three years ago. The company was funded in the early days by about $10.5 million from Chairman and co-founder Drew Major and angel investors. In September 2006, Move corralled $11.3 million in venture funding from Hummer Winblad and Steamboat Ventures. Mr. Edwards expects Move to become profitable in the second half of this year.

Pro: Given consumers’ appetite for online video from broadcast networks, Move Networks is operating in a hot spot.

Cons: “The market is noisy and confusing,” Mr. Edwards said.

Backstory: Mr. Edwards, 51, was born and raised in Salt Lake City. He earned a computer science degree from Brigham Young University and an MBA from Arizona State University. He served as chairman and CEO of voice-over-IP firm I-Link, as president of business software systems company Coresoft and as an executive at Novell. He is married and has five kids ranging from 16 to 26.

Who knew: Mr. Edwards lived in Israel in 1979 and while there learned to scuba dive in the Red Sea.