RENOWNED CABLE TV LEADERS MICHAEL WILLNER & SIDNEY KNAFEL TO INVEST IN AND HELM NEW VIDEO TECHNOLOGY INNOVATOR – PENTHERA PARTNERS, LLC.
Cable Executives Jump to New Media
PITTSBURGH, PA. – September 10, 2012 – Cable industry veterans Michael S. Willner and Sidney R. Knafel, who co-founded Insight Communications and served respectively as CEO and chairman for nearly three decades, are reuniting to invest in and lead a new media technology venture, Penthera Partners.
Insight grew to become one of the country’s Top 10 cable companies before it was sold to Time Warner Cable for $3 billion in February 2012. Willner will guide Penthera as CEO through the next phase in its evolution; and Knafel will serve as company vice chairman.
“I’ve devoted much of my career to delivering forward-looking, innovative TV and broadband services to U.S. consumers. Now, as consumers are shifting their viewing habits—they’re viewing, creating, and sharing video on smartphones, tablets, and other Internet-enabled devices. With its rich portfolio of products and IP, Penthera is uniquely poised to help the cable industry and other technology companies roll out innovative IP-based video solutions,” said Willner.
Penthera Partners is a privately-held software firm whose customers have included Tier-1 global device manufacturers and network operators. The company has developed a patented software engine that efficiently moves HD video between the cloud and smartphones, tablets and IP-enabled set-top boxes.
Willner has served in a distinguished leadership role in in the cable industry, including two terms as chairman of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA), the cable industry's trade lobby and served on its executive committee for many years. Michael also served as chairman of the board of the Cable Center from 2007 through 2011. He served on the executive committee of CableLabs; the board of directors of C-SPAN and the Walter Kaitz Foundation. As an industry advocate, he testified regularly before Congress on communications issues. He was honored by the cable industry in 2004 with its Distinguished Leadership Vanguard Award and named to the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame in 2005 and the Cable Center Hall of Fame in 2008.
“Our transition to a new media technology company, which is focused on next generation consumer experiences, is the next logical step for us. I have always focused on new, relevant products and services that benefit consumers,” Willner added.
Willner began his career in 1974 as the program director and news reporter for a small suburban New York cable system after graduating from the Boston University College of Communications. Soon after, he shifted his focus to general management and eventually became the chief operating officer of Vision Cable Communications, a cable TV company owned by a division of Newhouse Newspapers led by Sidney Knafel.
Sidney R. Knafel served as the former chairman and director at Insight Communications until its sale. Knafel, an early cable TV pioneer, founded and served as the chairman of Vision Cable Communications from 1971 until its sale in 1981. He later served as a director of Cellular Communications International and was director of Cellular Communications of Puerto Rico, Inc. Knafel also served as a Director of Source Media Inc.
As managing partner at SRK Management Company, he serves on the boards of several private companies. Knafel also serves as director of IGENE Biotechnology and lead Independent Director of General American Investors Company. A chartered financial analyst, he holds an A.B. from Harvard University and an M.B.A. from the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration.
Penthera develops patented technology that facilitates the movement of rich content over IP networks, between the Cloud and smartphones, tablets, and IP-enabled TVs. One product, Ribit, is a cloud-based video sharing service that’s available in the Apple Store. Another product, Virtuoso, delivers HD video to iPhones, iPads, and Android devices for later play-out. Penthera’s customers have included tier-1 network operators, smartphone manufacturers, TV networks and other entities that need to deliver media content securely, reliably, and verifiably to their customers and employees. Please visit www.Penthera.com.