Just months before bringing its streaming TV service to the market, Intel Media has reportedly lost one of its key executives: Jim Baldwin. Previously serving as Intel Media's VP of Engineering, Baldwin has departed from the company to pursue other opportunities. Baldwin's LinkedIn profile now lists him as "retired" from Intel (opens in new tab).
What this means for Intel Media's streaming TV plans is unknown at this point. GigaOM reports that the project is currently running a private test in three markets, and is slated to arrive on the market before the end of the year. An Intel rep said that Baldwin will be missed, but there's a strong engineering organization already in place with a "deep leadership bench", meaning Intel Media will survive without Balwin's presence.
Prior to Intel Media, Baldwin served as CTO for the Interactive Entertainment Business unit as well as Engineering Director for Microsoft’s Mediaroom business. He joined Microsoft in 1997 as a part of the WebTV acquisition, and has been a key architect in WebTV Plus, Echostar Dishplayer, DirecTV UltimateTV and Microsoft TV.
Last month, Bloomberg reported that Intel Media was close to making a firm deal with Time Warner, NBC Universal and Viacom in obtaining programming for its streaming pay TV service. These three media companies had reportedly agreed to broad outlines of the proposed service, although some aspects still needed to be settled such as financial terms.
Intel Media was also getting ready to begin financial negotiations with News Corp., owner of the FOX film and news businesses. The chip maker has also entered preliminary talks with Walt Disney Co. (ABC, DIS, etc) and CBS Corp. (CBS).
Intel plans to offer an online product this year using its own set-top box and the customer's current broadband access. By taking this already established route into the living room, Intel believes it can offer more choices over the channels consumers receive, combining live channels, on-demand programming and cloud-based DVR capabilities. Programming will also be offered through desktops, laptops and mobile devices.
However Intel has a long battle ahead. Not only are cable companies bringing content online, but Microsoft is working on a streaming TV services of its own. Meanwhile, current services like Hulu and Netflix are providing their own content, and Amazon Studios just loaded Instant Video with fourteen original TV pilots, many of which became the most watched TV shows across Amazon Instant Video over the weekend.