Loss-making online television pioneers JumpTV and NeuLion are planning to merge. This will create a single operation covering a range of sports, international and religious channels, delivered on the web and to set-top boxes. The transaction is expected to be completed in the autumn. The merger is expected to result in around 60 job losses by the end of 2008.

JumpTV, based in Toronto, Canada, is a pioneer in providing online video channels, latterly specialising in sports. It offers online video coverage of a number of sporting events, such as the National Hockey League, streaming over 15,000 live sports events in all last year.

NeuLion, is a private company based in Plainview, New York, which provides a set-top box-based platform enabling programming partners to offer online video services. It includes the National Hockey League among its customers, as well as Chinese channels under the KyLinTV brand and the Christian family-friendly Sky Angel service.

“The combination of our highly complementary technologies and depth of expertise in the areas of sports and international IPTV delivery makes for incredible synergy between the two companies,” said Scott Paterson, the executive chairman of JumpTV. “This merger enables us to provide our partners with a complete solution for streaming content live online across multiple devices and viewing platforms.”

“Consumers are becoming more reliant on broadband and internet services for their media experiences and this shift creates enormous opportunity for content owners to reach untapped global audiences,” said Nancy Li, the founder and chief executive of NeuLion. “NeuLion and JumpTV have committed to creating a one-of-a-kind enterprise offering that manages the end-to-end delivery of content through all broadband platforms: the PC, the TV, and an array of mobile devices.”

JumpTV is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange and London AIM markets. The merged company will continue to be listed in Toronto but may explore the possibility of an American listing.

Charles Wang, the retired founder and former chief executive of Computer Associates and husband of NeuLion founder Nancy Li who is also a former CA executive, will become chairman of the new company while she will serve as chief executive. He happens to own the New York Islanders hockey team. He has committed to investing CDN$10 million in the new combined venture, which will be based in Plainview, New York. Scott Peterson of JumpTV will become executive vice-chairman and will invest a further CDN$1 million.