I got to sign for a package today. It was from ZillionTV. No, I am not in the $99 beta. They sent me a kind letter asking me to stop disparaging ZillionTV’s Management. I should feel bad, I mean they do have a lot of problems already,and I’m sure me sharing the truth about their backgrounds, their current job titles and the state of their patent portfolio isn’t helping.
You see when I was looking to join ZillionTV I was told that Mitch Berman had shaped the cable content world in his role at HBO, and that he helped create E! Entertainment Television. Mitch worked in Affiliate Management, which has little to do with content, programming, or production despite how his background was pitched to me, or is portrayed by statements like “helped create E!” or “Former HBO Executive” which has appeared in recent ZillionTV Press.
When Mitch Berman most recently spoke at Digital Hollywood he took the stage and failed to mention he wasn’t the CEO any more. Something that if it weren’t part of a larger pattern of omission might have not been a big deal.
Zillion’s letter to me…
…Implies that I’m sharing confidential information, but I have been careful to only report things which I can link to a source to from someone else on the Internet, because as a former Standard and Poor’s Society of Industry Leaders Consultant, and as someone who has been privy to a lot of the inner workings of Microsoft I have had to learn when I can say something and when that is still secret.
ZillionTV’s “Management” is really bad about having conversations in really stupid places, especially if they want to keep secrets. If you say something on the floor at Digital Hollywood, or while having lunch at the hotel restaurant, when pitching a content partner, or an advertiser, expect it to become public knowledge. Stack on top of that many of the ZillionTV Management left a wake of destruction at TVia (Something left off press releases), or that at this point many of the content partners are so annoyed with ZillionTV that promised to be live nearly a year ago, that there are forums all but dedicated to bashing ZillionTV. According to Google 33k+ pages on the internet mention ZillionTV and Vaporware. (I only created about 3 of these)
ZillionTV’s staff talks to everybody but listen’s to no one, so where as my years of contacts in the content space dating back to before I joined Akimbo, have given me early access to information like the change in CEO at Zillion, and news about lay-offs. ZillionTV has missed or ignored the overwhelming negative feed back from VCs, Ad Agencies, and Content providers who openly make jokes about Mitch Berman, “The Jesus of Hollywood” who tells the story to every reporter, advertiser, and even the major studios of how he is going to save Hollywood from the Internet. There was a very funny doodle which was passed around NATPE of Mitch with with a robe and flip flops with a Z-Bar under his arm.
This is my blog, so I write about the topics that interest me, and IPTV is one of those, so even if I hadn’t worked at ZillionTV I’d probably have reported the things I have, but people call to tell me things a lot more because they know I left ZillionTV when I discovered that things were not as they seemed.
My manager at ZillionTV Ben Silva didn’t win 7 Emmy’s. Didn’t spend near as much time in China as he said he did, and that vacation he took just before I joined the company wasn’t a vacation so much as a trip to “Clear his head” before his teeth started to fall out.
The only impressive thing ZillionTV’s Management has actually done: Keep the studios interested this long. Why Disney would attach their name to ZIllionTV is beyond me. I don’t think Lion’s Gate benefited from attaching their name to ZillionTV’s latest press release which could be summarized as “Lion’s Gate signs, and Zillion Delays 6 more months.”
As always any ZillionTV Staff who wants help finding another job I’d be happy to help. There are a lot of great under appreciated people who were just laid off at ZillionTV,( though the former CEO’s son got a promotion that day). DVS Employee Erik St Anthony Pence got charged according to what he told people at Digital Hollywood with the task of “Fixing the Studio Relationships.” (its rough when your investors such as Disney, Fox, NBC/Universal, and Warner Brothers don’t give you good term sheets so you have to “Fix” the relationships).
You ever wonder what the delay is? I mean if as Mitch says in his statement to press that the lay offs were because the product is done and they didn’t have anything to do, why the delay? Shouldn’t there be a released product if it is done?