Archive for the ‘Video’ Category

BBC Youtube content deal formalized

March 2, 2007

BBC has formally announced that it has done content deal with Google to make available its programming. It was only last week the details about this imment deal had appeared.

As part of this programming BBC will offer branded “channels” on Youtube. This would include “BBC Worldwide”, which is more on the shows side of things hosting Top Gear, Spooks, and documentaries. BBC would also be showing news clips through the “BBC World” channel on Youtube.

This content deal will also have an advertising angle to it although not much details are available on that. Again I don’t think this would include in-video ads, since users posting any of those embed codes on MySpace won’t go down well.

As Google goes about its deal making process, it is pretty much clear some deals might fall through, like for Viacom and CBS, while newer will emerge. Whatever media companies and Joosts of the world might say and do, Youtube gets the eyeballs and hence the deals.



Blockbuster’s new plan- Buy Movielink

March 1, 2007

Blockbuster is planning to buy movie download service Movielink for $50 million, according to MarketWatch. Blockbuster seems to be the last of all the major companies to think of such a move. Netflix is already carrying out beta of its movie streaming service to be launched Q2/Q3 of this year. On the other hand Amazon recently made deal with TiVO to get a better handle of the TV market instead of targeting only the PC users. Apple, Microsoft, Walmart are just of the other companies looking to grab major chunk of the market share from Netflix and Blockbuster as users finally think of moving towards online movies.

In my opinion, if this deal goes through Blockbuster will have an edge over Netflix ’cause Movielink is a movie download service unlike Netflix which is planning to stream movies. Off course Netflix spending big bucks in building it’s system(same goes for Movielink) to make sure movies reach the users in a true streaming fashion. Wider FiOS rollout to alleviate the bandwidth problems might also be on Netflix’s mind but that is few more years to go and would work good for everyone besides Netflix.

Videosharing site Fliqz closes another funding round

February 28, 2007

Fliqz, the social video sharing site has raised $2.5 million in Series B round of funding, according to PEHub. Mohr, and Davidow Ventures participated in the investment. Last year Fliqz had raised $1 million in its Series A round. Fliqz, which has a pretty basic design claims to be focused on being longer media storage platform. Their plans aside, I am not able to play videos on Firefox. On whole can’t see where exactly Fliqz is headed a very tight market.


Cellblock remote media refresh takes on both worlds – Desktop+Web

February 28, 2007

Widget based media sharing service Cellblock has been around for a while all along building cool new features. Today Cellblock added another significant feature to the service that extends the scope of the widget to the desktop space and in process adds disruptive real-time collaborative capabilities to the widget space. With just a few clicks, you can download a cellblock to your desktop that requires the recent version of JRE to work. Just as with the Flickr upload tool, you can upload content by simply dragging and dropping into the widget. Big difference is that you can upload photos and as well as videos onto the desktop widget. After this is when the real magic happens. As soon as you upload, the content updates instantly everywhere – on every desktop and on every website it’s embedded on. I think this is a pretty significant feature release ’cause it blurs the line between desktop and web widgets while making it easier to send content updates remotely, an important feature that was ignored in number of cases notably Youtube video widget. So now you can find yourself attaching a Cellblock Desktop Widget to a email that takes up almost no space but still displays an unlimited amount of photo and video content, streamed in real-time.

Few companies have already been working on enabling this feature set including Google, Splashcast, Preclick with each of them targeting a different market with a unique implementation. As expected Google is focused on pushing Adsense video ads through such a widget, while Splashcast has taken the traditional show->channel->player approach, and Preclick is using the Instant Messaging way to remotely refresh media content. However I am impressed by the Cellblock implementation that gets things done without requiring end users to install a new application.


Verizon Mobile TV from March 1

February 27, 2007

Come March 1st and Verizon will finally go live with its mobile TV service. This news comes after Qualcomm’s announcement earlier this month that top wireless carriers in US including Cingular and Verizon will be using its MediaFLO mobile TV network to deliver mobile TV capabilities to its users. The service from Verizon will be branded as “Vcast Mobile TV”, and will be available on 2 handsets – SCH-u620 from Samsung and the VX9400 from LG. Verizon had announced last month that it would offer shows from CBS, Comedy Central, Fox, MTV, NBC News, NBC Entertainment and Nickelodeon as part of the mobile TV service.

Not much details are available in terms of coverage area, which is supposed to be patchy to start with. Also no details about pricing have been released, which I think will play a significant role in uptake of the service besides the overall quality and limitations imposed by the service.


Youtube in deal with Independent Label

February 27, 2007

Deal a day is the mantra at Youtube. Yesterday there was news of Youtube getting together with NBA to launch “NBA Channel” that will feature original content from National Basketball Association and user-posted basketball videos. Today Youtube is getting together with a prominent independent label, Wind-up Entertainment Inc, to enable legitimize user of its music and videos. The deal with Wind-up involves more than 225 songs and rev share agreement. As part of the deal, Google/Youtube will pay an undisclosed share of revenue from advertising on the video page that either uses the songs as promotional music or as background for a video created by a user. With most of the major content providers already under the wraps, expanding on to indies, sports, brands is where we will see major thrust from Youtube.

FONbucks, CrossLoop local, vMix+NBC, Skype’s wireless plans

February 22, 2007

FON: The worldwide WiFi community enabler in on the move again. Today FON launched WiFi connection manager for Symbian based phones. This will enable FONeros to easily locate and connect to the FONspots from their Nokia E60, E61, E70, N80, N91, N92, N93 y N95. Another fun partnership that FON announced is with Starbucks. People living above or near a Starbucks can get a FON router for free to being streaming the signal to Starbucks patrons and start earning some real bucks. Even though universal WiFi is a dream located light years away, I like the energy and enthusiasm displayed by the FON team.

CrossLoop: Remember the free remote access client from CrossLoop I had written about last year and expressed my doubts about how long the service will remain free? After exchanging few messages with Mrinal Desai at CrossLoop, it seems they are really serious about maintaining the free version while adding premium plan with additional features pretty soon. In the meantime CrossLoop team is cranking out localized version of the client which will be available in 21 different languages from 27th Feb. Supported languages will now include Spanish, French, Italian, Chinese, German, Dutch, Portuguese, and Hindi among others.

vMix + NBC = Friends ? At least that is what the vMix site says. Did vMix sign a deal with NBC off late? Will need to dig more into this. In case you have forgotten, vMix had raised undisclosed amount funds in its second round last month. Traffic graphs go allover Alexa/Quantcast/Compete show a bit of uptick for this month, but stagnant for the previous 6 months.

Skype: The IM voice calling king is petitioning FCC to take down the rule that enables wireless carriers to prohibit use of Skype type voice service on their networks, according to Ars Technica. Skype basically wants to get the 1968 Carterfone decision, which currently enables use of  non-carrier provided devices be hooked onto the cable TV and Internet networks at home, be extended over to the wireless world. Idea is good, but FCC loves Verizon, At&t, and all. Good luck with that. Anyway, why doesn’t Skype build a mobile client for real that doesn’t eat the network and phone, and than try spreading the word around in Europe before moving to US?


BBC on Youtube; SimulScribe Voice-to-SMS; Sportsvite new look

February 21, 2007

BBC talks with Google: While talks with CBS and Viacom have fallen apart in the last couple of days, Youtube teams continues with the deal making process. According to news reports, BBC is talking with Google to make available its content on Youtube. No details have emerged in regards which content will be made available.

SimulScribe: I don’t think converting voicemail to text market is big enough to support another startup. Nevertheless SimulScribe is planning to take on reQall, Jott, and Spinvox, with its new service that converts voicemail to text and sends it out as SMS your mobile. SimulScribe is pretty much decided about its monetization plans. The service comes free for 7 days, and thereafter costs $9.99/month for 40 messages. Feels pricey to me. 

Sportsvite: The sports social networking startup, which had raised $2 million last week, has gone live with major upgrades to the site. Changes seem to be related more to the UI brush-up side of things, and less on adding new core features. I am unimpressed.

Microsoft opens up Soapbox

February 14, 2007

Microsoft’s video sharing site Soapbox, which has been under private beta for past few months, is finally open for users to signup and start sharing videos. The news is good for Microsoft, but I think they are a bit late to the party. Google/Youtube, Dailymotion, Revver, Brightcove, and MySpace have been busy signing legal content sharing deals with media companies, and also working hard on developing new syndication, distribution, and revenue sharing options for the past year. When compared to them, Microsoft is at least more than a year behind schedule. Also Soapbox is currently using Macromedia Flash to deliver videos, which can cause some turbulence if and when Microsoft moves over to its own Flash killer platform – Windows Presentation Foundation.

Unyte and Soapbox IM add-ons


Smilebox launches- Personalized greetings with videos

February 12, 2007

Since multi-format media mashup is the buzzword, we should see more number of startups graduating to that than doing just photos. Last month, Splashcast had launched its syndication player that gets audio, video, photo, and text all in one place. Today Smilebox launched a similar product that making media sharing easier through personalized greetings. With $5 million in venture funding from Frazier Technology Ventures and angel investors, Smilebox wants to run things from your PC. Unlike Splashcast, you need to download and install Smilebox PC software. Advantage of desktop app is that you get to zoom, pan, rotate, and upload your clips at a much faster speed. Smilebox provides number of professionally designed slideshows, over which users can drag and drop videos, photos, add music, and text. It took less than couple of minutes for me to create a very professional looking greeting, upload photos, and send it out. Any greeting you email can be accessed from your Smilebox account online. As for pricing, basic version is free which comes with Google ad-blocks, and premium version comes for a one-time fee of $1.99(no-ads+can print+full-screen view mode). You can also subscribe to Smilebox for $4.99 a month or $39.99 a year to unlimited use of all premium designs. OutStory is another startup enabling video embedding, while another similar product Picaboo is still sticking with photos since their end product is a printed photo book.