A new online TV service is inviting TV producers, movie distributors and rights owners to submit content for broadcasting online.
Babelgum, developed by Fastweb co-founder Silvio Scaglia, is now available as a free beta download. Beta testers can access around 500 hours of professionally produced content from partners including Reuters and Associated Press.
Scaglia is reportedly courting major Hollywood studios, but said that he especially welcomes niche "long-tail" content from independent producers.
Both services offer broadcast-quality, full-screen TV programmes over the web via secure peer-to-peer servers. Content is streamed in encrypted form and is not available for download.
Babelgum chief executive Erik Lumer said: "Babelgum combines the 'lean-back' experience of TV with the 'sit-forward' PC world.
"At times you can just sit back and enjoy full-screen, high-quality streaming [and] at other times you use the interactivity and social networking facilities. "
Babelgum content providers will receive $5 per 1,000 views. According to Scaglia, the money will come initially "out of my pocket", although targeted advertising is due to be added in coming months.
Later this month, Babelgum content owners will get direct access to a secure area of the website for uploading and managing material. There are no restrictions on size of content, which can be digital or analogue.
Scaglia invested €350m of his personal fortune in the venture, which he hopes to boost with a further €130m earned from Fastweb dividends this year.
The available audience is estimated at 300 million, and the project is scheduled to break even by 2010.
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