Cable Operators

Gotuit Secures $10 More in Funding

12/05/2004 7:00 PM Eastern

Gotuit Media Corp., which provides VOD content-indexing services, has secured $10 million in a third round of funding, bringing its current investment to more than $20 million.

The financing was led by Atlas Ventures, and included investor Highland Capital Partners. Atlas partner Jeff Andrews, has joined Gotuit Media’s board of directors.

Gotuit provides indexing services for news, music, entertainment and sports content providers, including the National Hockey League, Universal Music Group, Kung Fu Records, Vagrant Records; and Scripps Networks.

At the moment, Gotuit’s only announced MSO rollout has been with Time Warner Cable in Portland, Maine. “Before year-end, we expect to make at least one major [MSO] announcement,” president Mark Pascarella said.

The Portland system is indexing a wide range of VOD content, he said. “We’re quite pleased with the results in that test market. The music offering is among the leaders in popularity.”

Time Warner also indexes New England Patriots pro-football highlights and college football and basketball footage from Collegiate Images.

The professional indoor lacrosse league will start play over the winter, Pascarella said, helping to fill the void of winter sports content during the NHL’s player lockout.

Gotuit would appear to be caught in a classic chicken-and-egg dilemma between programmers and cable operators. Without more MSO rollouts, programmers may not be interested in participating, but systems may want more content.

Nonetheless, “the programming discussions have been quite strong,” said Pascarella. “We will make a major content announcement very shortly.”

The results from the Time Warner rollout point to the potential of creating ad-sales models for VOD, said Pascarella. The Gotuit application, for instance, includes a video window on the lower left-hand part of the screen. A consumer watching a music video will see a billboard ad in the lower corner. He or she can click on the billboard and launch video of a product or advertisement.

“We can create highly targeted, relevant ads for on-demand content,” he said. “It’s actionable on screen placement. Consumers can pause the video and play the video behind the billboard.”

September