Veoh Puts Some P2P Behind Online Video

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Veoh Networks has officially launched its online video syndication service, aiming to offer a convenient video library for online video watchers and a new platform for digital video publishers who want to push their content to blogs, RSS feeds, and sites like YouTube and MySpace.

"Veoh’s mission is to bring the next generation of television to people wherever they are—office, living room, or on the go," said Veoh CEO Dmitry Shapiro. "Technology will allow us to dramatically improve the experience, and we believe our formal release today is an important step towards realizing our goal."

For online video fans, Veoh essentially wants to be a virtual cable company, with its Veoh Player positioned as a universal repository for all online video. In addition to claiming to provide access to widest range of DVD-quality online video options (including streaming or downloading content from veoh.com), users can subscribe to episodic programs and download video content from Internet sites like MySpace and YouTube. Users simply identify video they want to save at any site they visit by using the Veoh browser plug-in, and the content is saved automatically for viewing in their Veoh player. Viewers can organize and watch content, and manage media for iPods and Windows Media devices (although video content purchased from the iTunes store is probably not viewable via the Veoh Player). Veoh says it currently offers roughly 100,000 videos across hundreds of channels and 15 categories, including 25 branded channels from the likes of TNT, Paramount Pictures, New Line Cinema, and a TV Guide Channel coming this week. Community features enable viewers to find new videos via recommendations, keyword searching, and straight-ahead categorical browsing, as well as offering recommendations based on users’ viewing habits and preferences. The Veoh Player is available for both Macs (Mac OS X 10.3.9 or newer) and Windows (2000, XP, or Vista).

Veoh also offers services for content publishers, letting digital videographers upload video to Voeh (for free) and have their content automatically synced with major video sites like YouTube, MySpace, and FaceBook. Veoh can also hook into publishers’ blogs and RSS feeds. Veoh also claims to be able to monitor videos’ audiences across sites from their Veoh account.

Veoh’s distribution technology is built using a peer-to-peer model, and in terms of content seems to be aiming somewhere between the full Hollywood fare of mainstream digital download services and the teenager-with-a-cellphone culture on YouTube. Veoh does not want to be offering the same rehashed television material which might be available via other services, instead hoping to find a niche offering unique digital video content. The real question for Veoh is how large a niche that might be, and whether a company can prosper in that space.

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