Internet TV Takes Another Step

Veoh Networks, Inc., the first Internet television peercasting network, last week announced it has completed a Series A round of financing led by Shelter Capital Partners. The company's goal is to create a new category of television networks that take advantage of existing broadband infrastructure to deliver standard-definition, full-screen video programming directly from producers to consumers.

Veoh Networks was founded in 2004 by Dmitry Shapiro, a technologist best known for creating the world's leading P2P (peer-to-peer) security software that manages more than one million enterprise users, regulating applications such as BitTorrent and Grokster. Veoh's management and advisory team also includes executives from Coca-Cola, Columbia Pictures, eBay, Gateway Computer, and Musicmatch.

"Today, thousands of video producers are creating innovative, entertaining, informative, and provocative television content that is never slotted for broadcast over traditional television networks," says Shapiro, who is also Veoh's CEO. "Veoh provides an open system that allows producers to distribute their content directly to consumers, bypassing the traditional hurdles of getting 'picked up' by a major television network."

Veoh software, installed on consumers' PCs or Macs, creates a virtual television network that is able to distribute SD-quality, full-screen video to hundreds of millions of users with broadband Internet connections. Movie studios, television networks, organizations, and individuals can publish unlimited amounts of video content to the network, providing consumers with unprecedented choice in television programming and control over their viewing experience.

Veoh utilizes a proprietary, secure P2P network that helps prevent piracy of content and makes sure all video content is properly categorized, of TV-grade quality, and always available. Unlike rogue P2P networks that utilize unmanaged BitTorrent to share mostly pirated video, Veoh is a community of publishers and consumers, where published content is approved by editors, and consumers are assured that they get what they request. The system also integrates tightly with Google Video and RSS, providing content producers with easy publishing to multiple video systems.

"We are excited about Veoh's plans to create a marketplace for video content producers to distribute their work, much like eBay established a marketplace for individuals and stores to sell their wares," said Art Bilger, managing partner at Shelter Capital Partners. "There is a growing market opportunity for such a service, and the Veoh team is uniquely qualified to deliver on such a grand vision."

A beta version of Veoh's software and service will be available later this month. Content producers and consumers are encouraged to visit their Web site to sign up for notification upon launch. Granted, it's not high-def—yet. But as with all things technological, it's only a matter of time. For now, this is the bleeding edge of alternative video distribution.

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