The Internet's virtual shelves continue to bulge, with cable, software, consumer electronics and telephone companies all starting to deliver video services on the World Wide Web that offer every kind of imagery, ranging from slick Hollywood blockbusters to dimly lit suburban cinema verité.
Comcast has launched a beta version of Ziddio.com, a user-generated video-uploading Web site akin to YouTube, encouraging visitors to "shoot and share" their clips — and then get them not just on the Net, but on TV. The cable operator's twist is that it promises to migrate some of the best participant-created bits to its library of videos available on demand to its cable subscribers. The beta site, which went up in November, encourages users to submit videos for such different categories as comedy, music and horror/science-fiction, among others. The goal is to draw in advertisers to support the content, and the best videos could "bubble up" onto Comcast's free video-on-demand choices. Ziddio is owned and operated by Comcast Interactive Media, along with partners interactive-advertising agency Genex and ThePlatform, which helped create and develop the site.
Microsoft, the King Kong of computer code, struck deals with six entertainment companies to offer downloads of 1,000 hours worth of TV shows and movies to its Xbox 360 video game console. On a rental basis, Xbox customers will be able to download and watch programming from CBS, MTV Networks, Paramount Pictures, Turner Broadcasting System, Ultimate Fighting Championship and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. Titles to be available via the Internet service include episodes of CBS's "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" and "Survivor," Adult Swim's "Aqua Teen Hunger Force," Nickelodeon's "SpongeBob SquarePants" and Paramount's "Nacho Libre" and "Jackass: The Movie." Microsoft didn't announce pricing. The announcement came as gaming rival Sony geared up to launch PlayStation3, set for Nov. 17.
Sony Pictures Entertainment will provide clips from 25 of its well-known movies and TV shows through the company's Grouper.com video-sharing site. The new ScreenBites channel on Grouper.com initially includes 100 clips. After watching a clip, visitors are shown offers to purchase the full-length film or TV show on DVD or digital download. Sony Pictures Entertainment acquired Grouper.com in August for $65 million. ScreenBites will include clips from Sony movies such as "A Few Good Men," "Charlie's Angels," "Jerry Maguire," "Men in Black," "On the Waterfront" and "Spider-Man." Sony TV shows that are part of the channel include "Diff'rent Strokes," "Fantasy Island" and "The Three Stooges."
Verizon Communications is working with two video-sharing sites, YouTube and Revver, to provide short-form, user-generated content to Verizon's wireless phone and TV subscribers. YouTube and Revver will each have channels on Verizon's entertainment service for its V Cast network, which brings video content to mobile phones.