Gotuit Goes to the Web

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Gotuit Media Inc. has developed an innovative video technology that presents video clips almost instantaneously, and is now literally going broad with it, unveiling a broadband video Web site powered by the scheme.

But the site is not just a proof of concept for Gotuit — the company has designs to spin Gotuit.com into a major Web-video nexus, with tentacles extending to high-volume content portals.

Launched last week, Gotuit.com offers a 5,000-title library of video content covering music, news, sports and entertainment, rounded up from providers including Universal Music, Reuters, the Associated Press, AccuWeather and alternative sports outlet Planet X, plus movie trailers and a collection of short films.

CONTENT AGGREGATOR

In contrast to other streaming-video systems that store individual clips on a server and use search-and-retrieval software, Gotuit’s video-delivery system fuses individual video clips into a larger aggregated file. It then uses metadata — information sent along with a video stream that spells what the content is, and how it should be presented to a user device — to create markers within the larger file. When a user clicks on a link for a particular video, the system zips through the large file to the appropriate metadata marker to display the correct content.

That allows the user to tap Gotuit.com’s music channel and either play the entire lineup uninterrupted, or, for instance, tap a link to go directly to Nelly Furtado’s new video.

The result: a video that starts playing immediately, so the viewer doesn’t have to waste the few seconds that traditional online Web video players require to find a video stored on a server, load it and present it.

The Gotuit technology will do for video what the channel changer did for television content, according to Mark Pascarella, president of Gotuit Media.

“The remote control and made that switch between channels and content and segments instantaneous, and people gravitated to that experience very quickly because it just made the whole experience better,” he said. Eliminating the delay to load video “really makes it instantaneous for you to just get to what you want.”

It’s a technology Gotuit developed for the world of on-demand video, where it has landed rollouts with Time Warner Cable and Adelphia Communications Corp. reaching about 1 million cable subscribers.

Bringing that to the Internet does require Gotuit to scale up its operations to handle the thousands of video files offered on the Web site, but that isn’t a heavy lift technology-wise, Pascarella said.

The company already has the video transcoding gear in place, and it has struck a deal with content-distribution network supplier Akamai Technologies Inc. to support the data transport.

“We don’t see a limit yet,” added Gotuit vice president of product management Patrick Donovan. “I’m sure as we continue gathering content we will have more and more ways to organize the playlist and the content. But there is nothing that is technically holding us back from a scaling perspective.”

For now, all of that content is housed on Gotuit’s portal. But in the near future, that will expand to include links to other major branded content sites where video playback is powered by Gotuit technology, Pascarella said.

WIRELESS IN THE WORKS

Toward the end of the year, Gotuit plans to extend a similar video-playback system to deliver content to mobile devices, through deals forged with wireless-service providers. The content service, which will be co-branded by the carriers and Gotuit, will use the same content search engine and delivery technique, but scaled for the mobile-phone platform, Pascarella said.

Going forward, Gotuit plans to develop extensions that allow users to access video from wired or wireless network options, rather than offer them as separate services.

“It can’t be just multiple platforms — there has to be a meaningful link for the consumer between those platforms,” Pascarella said.

Still, Gotuit is venturing into the Internet at a time when there is no shortage of video portals. While that environment is perfect for the quick-play video Gotuit offers, the question is whether it will be able to gain enough attention next to content brands such as MTV Networks or user-submitted viral video sites such as Youtube.com, according to analyst Adi Kishore, director of The Yankee Group’s media and entertainment strategies decision service.

“How many people do you think have heard of the Gotuit brand?” he notes. “The quality is better, and they have obviously high-quality production value. But if that’s what you are looking for, then you are much more likely to go to MTV and the known brands.”

Given its innovative player technology, Gotuit might be better off in the long run positioning itself as a white-label streaming video provider, selling its player product to large content sites to power their video offerings.

“For my money, this is a technology company, and that’s their best bet to try and build an online presence,” Kishore said. “You are kind of caught between the viral effectiveness of YouTube, the established online destination strength of a Yahoo, and the content brand of an MTV. So you’ve got to try and find a slot in there, and I don’t know if there is one.”

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