Channels.com, a 2-year-old Palo Alto, Calif.-based start-up is joining the online video party, with the launch of its Web video guide, that allows users to collect and collate all types of online videos into – you guessed it – channels.
Channels.com founder and CEO Sean Doherty, a former @Home executive and a telecom entrepreneur, says that the company’s service allows consumers to build playlists (channels) out of any type of video content on the web, but is more focused on the web videos from established media companies. A quick glance through the website and you realize that Channels.com has many of the features you find in disparate services such as Dabble and VodPod, but all aggregated together.
“By using our tools you can build a channel of say Lost promotional videos, actor interviews and then link it to the full-length web video shows that are currently available on the network’s website,” says Doherty. He argues that just like when you go to Amazon.com, you browse through the available book options, read through the excerpts and reader comments, and then make a purchase decision – the same holds true on his service. The “revenue decision” in this case is your willingness to watch the full-length videos, most of them ad-supported.
“Most of the TV and cable network executives want to make money on the Web,” says Doherty, who has so far self-funded the company, with a small angel investment from Will Hearst, former general partner at KPCB, and an original investor in @Home (the first cable modem based broadband service that merged with Excite, but later went belly up). “New technologies are cool but are like a talking dog,” Doherty adds, “but most of the innovations in web video don’t show a clear way for the rights holders to make money. The guy who owns the P&L for web video at NBC cares.”
Doherty is betting that the content owners will kick some of the monies back his way. He has talked to nearly 75 cable and television networks and claims that so far the feedback for his service has been quite positive. “In developing Channels, we realized that the Web offered the potential to create a central environment where video-clip surfers can discover great video and be converted into viewers of ad-supported video in one integrated experience – without uploading.”