No Bubble To Burst..

In an indication that the industry is becoming mainstream, there seem to be endless articles referring the 'internet TV bubble'. This, of course, makes good press. The reality is, however, far from this.

In the late nineties ridiculous valuations were being placed on companies that were little more than ideas. The most famous of these, ironically, was an internet TV company called The company had the rights to broadcast audio commentaries on some women's college basketball games, no revenues, still holds the record for the largest first day gain for an IPO, and was bought by Yahoo for $6 billion. Oh happy days...!

Now, there are a handful of listed companies involved in the internet TV space and they are valued well below other technology companies on the markets, let alone anything close to the heady days of Web 1.0. Roo Media (ROOG), Onstream Media (ONSM) and the company I founded and work for, Narrowstep (NRWS) are amongst these, along with some larger players involved in related technologies and services such as Akamai (AKAM) and On2 Technologies (ONT).

There may be lots of companies jumping on the bandwagon, but, with the exception perhaps of Jump TV (JTV.L), the valuations being placed on developing companies in this sector at present are very modest compared to other technology companies, let alone for similar early stage companies in the nineties. So, where is the bubble ?

There's clearly a lot of gold at the end of the internet TV rainbow, but there's still a great deal of scepticism and wariness amongst US investors that is probably a knee jerk from what happened a decade or so ago.

And, whereas there are endless Web 2.0 deals going through, apart from Comcast's acquisition of theplatform, there seems to be surprisingly little activity in M&A around web TV and IPTV companies, probably because the market is so immature.