Tuesday, December 05, 2006

New launch the high-def YouTube

Flush with cash from a $12 million second round of funding from Redpoint Ventures and BV Capital, Azureus launched a video sharing service named Zudeo in Beta today. The new service will allow users to upload videos of any size and quality, there will be no limit on file size.
Azureus is an open-source, file-sharing client based on BitTorrent technology, and it appears to be going head-to-head with BitTorrent, to an extent, in the video-on-demand sector. Last week, BitTorrent announced several new deals with studios, a $20 million round of funding and the rumor mill began swirling around the imminent exodus of its creator Bram Cohen (Cohen denies the rumors in an interview with Wired today.)
Azureus appears to be positioning Zudeo to be more of a YouTube service than an iTunes, with revenue coming from promotional videos from mainstream content providers, and high-def videos from users. The company is planning on rolling out an embedded player, to make the service viral. This was a key to YouTube's success.
If it's the community that makes Web 2.0 sites successful, Azureus is off to a good start. According to the company its client has been downloaded 130 million times and it claims 15 million unique users. There's always the issue of the type of files Azureus is currently used to share, namely, copyrighted software, movies, television shows and music. But the 20 deals the company is claiming to have in the works with content providers could provide it with some if the RIAA and/or MPAA come knocking. BitTorrent should take note of the fact that Azureus actually has a Beta of its new service up and running while the company bearing the technology's name as its moniker has yet to fulfill any of the promise even though it's raised almost $30 million in funding and announced several deals with content providers. — Brian Ward

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