Software firm backed by TV heavyweights debuts service

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A technology start-up backed by Comcast Corp, Time Warner Cable Inc, and Cisco Systems Inc launched on Tuesday, rolling out software designed to help cable and satellite companies easily add functions like search or social networking to TV services.

BNI Video, which is also backed by Charles River Ventures and Castile Ventures, has raised about $16 million in financing so far, it said.

BNI Video’s software is being introduced at a time when cable, telecommunications and satellite companies are trying to keep pace with dramatic changes in audience behavior.

Not only do viewers increasingly watch TV on a variety of devices -- including smartphones and tablet computers -- but they are also demanding features like search or social networking to go along with the video.

BNI Video’s software helps pay-TV providers add those features for subscribers, while also delivering the bulked up services to their customers’ smartphones or other devices.

Reporting by Paul Thomasch, editing by Dave Zimmerman