Web TV firm wants to make everyone a broadcaster

3 Jun 2008

An internet TV start-up has developed a cutting-edge, high-definition service that empowers internet users to establish their own TV channels from sharing sites like MySpace and YouTube and even broadcast live video to the internet from their mobile phones.

Limerick-based WorldTV.com, founded by former DJ Alx Klive, allows users to collect clips from internet sharing sites, sequence them and brand their own TV channel.

Users can even introduce their own TV channel using their webcam.

A new feature also lets users broadcast live to their WorldTV channel using their mobile phone from anywhere on the planet.

So far, more than 35,000 people from 168 countries have created their own TV channels on WorldTV.

The site attracts over 250,000 unique users per month.

Klive told siliconrepublic.com that this marks the next wave of internet TV and a step beyond other online video services with a channel-centric approach as opposed to a clip-centric approach.

“People are starting to put their own shows together, ranging from music compilations to genre-specific channels such as extreme mountain biking.”

He said WorldTV is being timed to coincide with an important development in television technology whereby TV sets are being developed that connect directly to the internet using wireless networks.

“Several years ago one of the biggest barriers to entry to this space would have been bandwidth and computer processing power. Now thanks to broadband anybody could set up a TV channel on the internet with low barriers to entry,” said Klive, noting that the seeds of WorldTV were sown during his time in alternative broadcasting and pirate radio.

“What’s made WorldTV possible has been the proliferation of broadband and technologies like Flash 9, the most prevalent video format on the web.”

WorldTV’s website allows for quick and easy establishment of personalised TV channels, allowing users to search for videos across various hosted sites like MySpace, YouTube, MetaCafe and AOL.

Users simply identify the YouTube or MySpace video and can drag and drop the video file into the playlist.

“The interface is something we’ve worked very hard to make easy to use. There’s no learning curve required. My mum’s made a channel and if she can, anyone can.”

Klive said the service is high-definition capable. “We’ve employed techniques that improve the scaling and quality. It really depends on your video source. We’ve done tests where we’ve had videos running at 4Mbps and it looks stunning.”

In terms of using content from free hosted sites like YouTube and MySpace, Klive said it involved more negotiations with some sites than others and the signing of formal understandings.

“We had discussions with YouTube, for example, so it was aware of what we were doing. There is a whole movement towards interoperability between sites and creating mash-ups. We’re part of that. We provide value back to hosts in a number of ways and give them due credit and branding.”

WorldTV employs 10 people in Ireland and around the world and Klive says the decision to locate the operation in Ireland was driven by the presence of a number of colleagues and investors.

Klive says there will be three core models for monetisation of the WorldTV service: advertising deals between brands and new-wave broadcasters through revenue splitting deals; a subscription model for users who want to use additional professional broadcasting features; and an enterprise model that would allow companies to acquire white label versions of the service.

The company has also formed an alliance with a company called Qik, which is based in Silicon Valley and is behind the ability to broadcast live from mobile phones and webcams.

“At the end of the day, we are singularly focused on creating an easy-to-use platform that empowers anybody to have the same tools that were once only available to broadcasters.”

By John Kennedy