Eisner-Backed Veoh TV Debuts
Veoh TV is designed to act as a video browser and digital video recorder for discovering, viewing and managing online video. It claims to combine the breadth of the Web with the simplicity of traditional TV, bettered still with a patent-pending "smart recommendation engine" that allows viewers to discover agreeable content.
Veoh TV presents viewers with a single interface to search, browse and view all video on the Internet--from major television networks such as Fox and CBS to independently produced content on sites such as YouTube, Google Video, Veoh.com and MySpace.
Media companies, with the help of tech and design experts, are struggling right now to develop killer distribution platforms that incorporate the best elements of TV and the Web.
YouTube has all but cornered the market for short-form content. Veoh is one of several startups hoping to become the YouTube of longer content offerings, along with Joost and the yet-to-be-named joint venture between NBC and Fox.
"Unlike Joost, which is a closed system with content from a limited number of sources, Veoh TV supports open Internet standards, and has access to virtually all of the video content on the Internet, on demand," said Dmitry Shapiro, CEO of Veoh Networks.
Founded in 2004 by Shapiro, Veoh's key selling point has been its ability to enable users to upload videos of any length through its peer-to-peer technology. In February, the startup relaunched its video-sharing service with a more polished look and a new set of features, including the ability to download videos from virtually any Web site using the Veoh media player.
The company also recently began expanding its recommendation widgets to offer users video suggestions based on past viewing habits and preferences.
For publishers, Veoh has allowed videos to be posted automatically to Facebook, publishers' own blogs, RSS feeds, the iPod and Windows Media Player, as well as syndicated to top video sites such as YouTube, Google Video and MySpace.
Tying into its still-amorphous business strategy, Veoh has created branded channels for several media companies including Us Weekly, Paramount Pictures, TNT and New Line Cinema.
In March, Veoh began powering video distribution for Vuguru, Eisner's new studio for producing and distributing high-quality plot-driven Web video. (Both Vuguru and Veoh are backed by Eisner's investment firm The Tornante Co.)
With the help of Veoh, Vuguru creations like "Prom Queen" have been streaming online since April at PromQueen.tv, at partner sites like ELLEgirl.com and YouTube.com, and even at Veoh.com.
The standard for success in short-form content was set by two independent producers, Ramesh Flinders and Miles Beckett, who brought the world Lonelygirl15 one year ago this month. Since then, the serial--which documents the life of a fictional teen named Bree and her friends through interactive video blogs on YouTube and Revver--has attracted over 11 million channel views, and is presently the second-most-subscribed-to YouTube channel, with nearly 95,000 subscribers.
Naturally, "Lonelygirl15" has also attracted advertisers--including Neutrogena, which just partnered with the show's producers to actually insert a Neutrogena scientist into the show's cast and plot. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.