Livestation adds CNBC as a premium option

[UK] Livestation, the online TV service from London-based Skinkers, has added business and financial news channel CNBC as a premium option, and premium is the right word.

Users in Europe, the Middle East and Africa can now watch the live pan-EMEA feed of CNBC on Livestation’s online TV platform for a monthly fee of €4.99. It’s accessible through the company’s browser-based version, as well as a Mac/Windows/Linux client, and a dedicated CNBC-branded iPhone app.

It’s interesting to see Livestation continue to expand its relatively new subscription model – a similar arrangement for CNN became available last December – as the service morphs into a cable TV-like company for the Internet, albeit one that targets multiple platforms and has a focus on news.

Whether or not enough people will be willing to stump up as much €4.99 per ‘premium’ news channel is questionable, however, although the likes of CNBC may just be niche and business-oriented enough to be attractive to the right customers at that price, especially with the flexibility of running both on the desktop and mobile. That said, consumers are pretty used to news being free or made to look that way by being bundled with other channels.

Livestation’s other existing content partners include BBC World News, Al Jazeera, Bloomberg, euronews, and France 24, not all of which are subscription based. Broadcasters can instead choose to offer on a free and ad-supported model, with the option to create additional revenue through a one-off charge for a dedicated iPhone app, for example.

The service claims over 1 million “regular viewers”, which we presume is referring to non-premium subscribers.

In 2006, Skinkers signed a technology for equity deal with Microsoft, which gave the UK startup intellectual property rights for peer-to-peer technology developed by Microsoft Research. Since then the company has raised a total of $21.5M (according to Crunchbase), from Spark Ventures and Acacia Capital Partners.