On December 1, Evoca TV brought to light its biggest challenge to date: funding woes.
For the unique pay-TV service that relies on local NEXTGEN TV lighthouse and internet-delivered programming that is streamed to subscribers and integrated into a single user interface, the situation was dire.
Without a successful capital raise across the final weeks of 2022, Evoca TV would “discontinue operations and programming” on Saturday, Dec. 31. Would that still happen? Evoca TV CEO Todd Achilles hinted the answer would be “no.” But as December 30 came to a close, that predicted turned out to be false. Evoca TV would be shutting down.
“We are continuing to work on funding and hope to close by end of this week,” Achilles told RBR+TVBR on December 28.
While that was encouraging news, the key words in Achilles’ brief comment were “continuing,” and “hope.”
With just three days remaining in the business week to get the dollars in needs to keep Evoca TV from shutting down, time was of the essence. Unfortunately, time had run out.
The following note was distributed to customers late Friday:
To our valued subscriber,
Thank you for being part of the Evoca family.
We are grateful for your support as we challenged the media monopolies to make regional sports and local content more accessible and affordable. Unfortunately, we could not secure the funding that we need to continue operations into 2023. We must discontinue programming on December 31st, 2022.
To make this transition as painless as possible, we are waiving equipment return policies. You may keep your Evoca Nextgen TV receiver to watch over-the-air stations and to stream apps. You will no longer be billed by Evoca, and your account will be closed today.
We deeply appreciate your trust. It’s been an honor to watch great TV together.
Given its 2022 rollouts and particular consumer allure, Achilles had a strong argument to make for gaining the capital he needs to ensure Evoca lives on. In May, it launched its service in Portland, Ore., and in Traverse City-Cadillac, Mich. In the first market it began operating in, Boise, Idaho, Evoca TV successfully delivered emergency information to video subscribers tuned to programming delivered over the internet in an “industry first.”
Then, there is Evoca’s Regional Sports Network (RSN) deliverability, which, like Fubo TV, had sought to attract consumers from the traditional multichannel video programming distributors through a “skinny” offering. And, like Evoca, Fubo TV’s finances are rocky.
With RSNs not the strongest investment in 2022, as seen with Sinclair Broadcast Group and its Bally Sports operation, Fubo TV and Evoca TV got caught in a paradox. Despite subscriber growth for Evoca TV, it announced to subscribers on November 30 that “the past few years have been marked with unique challenges,” which required “constant adaptation.” This includes the COVID-19 pandemic, global supply chain issues, and inflation.
As such, it needed to tap the investor marketplace. And, that proved to be a tough task left unfulfilled. “[T]his is a difficult company for a company like ours to raise the funding that we need to grow,” Evoca TV shared.
RBR+TVBR previously reported that the initial announcement of needed cash for Evoca TV resulted in a “huge outpouring of support,” Achilles said. He added that “two new parties have come to the table,” and they range from institutional investors to sports-oriented partners.
Neither of these unnamed parties were enough to finalize a funding agreement sizable enough to sustain operations. As such, the end has come on December 31 for Evoca TV, at which point it will cease to operate in six states and serve a total consumer base of 8 million people.