Intel Media sale looks increasingly inevitable, TV contracts on hold

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Intel’s new CEO Brian Krzanich has made up his mind and decided that he doesn’t want to disrupt the TV business, according to a report from Reuters. Krzanich is set to lay out Intel’s plans for 2014 at the company’s annual investor event Thursday, but Intel’s planned OnCue TV service won’t be part of that presentation, the news agency is reporting.

OnCue was developed by a separate unit called Intel Media. Intel originally intended to launch OnCue by the end of this year, and the plan was to offer consumers a TV subscription service that would stream live TV feeds as well as an extended catch-up offering over the internet. Intel wanted to make OnCue available through its own set-top box as well as apps for mobile devices and PCs.

But while the project was championed by Intel’s former CEO Paul Otellini, Krzanich was much more skeptical of it — and it increasingly looks like the company may be ready to get rid of OnCue. Reports about a possible sale first surfaced in late October, with Verizon being one of the companies mentioned as being interested in OnCue’s assets at the time. Reuters now calls Verizon “the most likely buyer.”

The Reuters story adds a few interesting details, including one about a promotional push that was apparently canceled on short notice: Intel intended to show off OnCue with pop-up stores in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago this holiday season. Those plans were canned when the TV project began to stall, but the company had already rented the retail space, so it just turned them into show rooms for Intel-powered tablets and laptops.

Also worth noting: Tentative contracts with TV networks have been put on hold while Intel is looking for a buyer for OnCue, according to Reuters. I had previously heard that Intel was making progress with regards to winning over networks, and that the real issue wasn’t the access to content but the costly commitment to a space that’s outside Intel’s core area of expertise.

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