Gotuit Media, an established player in on-demand video, today announced the launch of its new broadband video portal - Gotuit.com. I got a sneak peak of the new portal and spoke with Mark Pascarella (president of Gotuit Media) and David Laubner (Director of Product Marketing) about the launch.
Gotuit.com is a free service. It offers instantaneous video delivery of a variety of professional media content - e.g. mainstream music and sports. The UI is slick and navigation between videos is pretty much seamless. But the most exciting part of Gotuit.com, for me, is its ability to search inside a video item. For example you can do a search for "Lance Armstrong" and it'll deliver a set of video snippets that feature the 7-time Tour de France winner. This is possible because Gotuit employees have indexed metadata for all videos on the service (more on this below). Users can also create playlists based on keywords - and share those with other people.
Gotuit was founded in 2000 and up till now has been mainly focused on the cable TV industry - competing with TV networks, like HBO and Showtime, that offer on-demand video. Apparently they are the number 1 VOD and music on demand provider in the US markets they are distributed. Now Gotuit is entering the broadband tv market, plus it has big plans for mobile tv later this year.
Why Gotuit is different
What differentiates Gotuit from the likes of YouTube and Google Video, is twofold:
1) Gotuit is strictly about professional content. It's partnering with mainstream media video producers - e.g. Universal Music, Warner Brothers, Reuters - to serve up content across 4 main categories: Music, Sports, News, and Entertainment. It has the latest music videos (ref: Nelly Furtado screenshot below), movie previews, short films, sports news and clips, and more.
The latest Nelly Furtado music video on Gotuit
Gotuit is also a platform for advertisers - I think its ability to target ads will be increasingly appealing as mainstream media moves online. Plus Gotuit will be announcing co-branded partnerships with mainstream content providers, whose online video will be powered by Gotuit.
2) The technology is more advanced than their Internet competition currently. Gotuit has instantaneous video delivery - it is streamed directly to the user's PC and so there's no buffering or download.
Also it has the 'search inside the video' feature I mentioned above. How is that done? Mark Pascarella told me that in the current broadband video market, there's a need for "a better, richer set of data for video search". So to meet that need, Gotuit has built a system which enables them to 'tag' specific points inside each video with appropriate metadata. Mark said this system is "a highly-automated process that involves human oversight for the creation of that data." So to be clear, the video metadata is not entirely automated - and indeed currently it is collected by Gotuit staff. However Mark told me that this metadata technology will be provided to content owners in the future.
Context: Broadband Video Market
The broadband video market is one that has a lot of activity right now, because a) video is seen as the next frontier on the Web; and b) many people see broadband video as the next generation of television. All the big Internet companies have a presence in this market - Yahoo, Google and MSN have fairly similar video search platforms. One company in particular is making big waves in broadband video - YouTube, which has grown like wildfire in 2006 and is (by far) the market leader now.
In many ways though, the current broadband tv market is primitive in nature. Few mainstream media companies have adopted online video content in a big way, except for relatively minor deals between old and new media. For example, NBC hooked up with YouTube - but really only to show tv promos on the upstart YouTube.
How Gotuit will fare in this market
I'm expecting Gotuit to make a big splash in broadband video. The technology they offer seems a big step up from the likes of YouTube and Yahoo Video. But having said that, in terms of the type of content it offers - it doesn't really compete with the incumbent Internet companies. YouTube and the big Internet companies are largely platforms for amateur video content, whereas Gotuit is squarely aimed at putting professional video content online.
Gotuit playlist of Xtreme sports wipeouts
Ultimately Gotuit is probably going to be competing against the big TV networks. So I suspect there is plenty of room right now for all the existing broadband video players, plus Gotuit.