Babelgum is a new internet TV service, using P2P technology to stream video to your PC at near -TV resolution, very much like Joost.
Like Joost, Babelgum has plenty of financial backing. While Joost’s founders Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis raised around £1.3bn from the sale of Skype, Babelgum founder Silvio Scaglia has just sold a quarter of his stake in Italian broadband firm Fastweb for £148m.
Babelgum, which is currently in beta, is very similar to Joost, which we reviewed as the Venice Project back in December. As well as being based on the same P2P technology, it streams full length, professional quality content, and doesn’t allow users to save the video they watch.
You can choose to view Babelgum in a window or full screen. Controls pop up when you move your mouse, which includes a ‘remote’ for changing channels or volume, as well as options to view channel and program info, organise bookmarked videos and change your settings.
One feature which separates Babelgum from Joost is the ‘smart channel’ function, which will take note of the types of programmes you are watching and deliver content catered to your interests. This sort of thing will underpin the future of the television advertising industry, which needs – and may receive – a big shot in the arm..
The Babelgum interface is clear and simple to use, and the picture quality is very good, better than most video sharing sites.
Ultimately, as with Joost or any other IPTV service, its success will depend on the quality of content on offer. At the moment, there isn’t much that is worth watching, but Scaglia intends to pursue deals with major content owners.
In addition, Babelgum is looking to sign up plenty of niche content, paying content providers $5 for every 1,000 views. We like that sort of revenue model, but will the numbers stack up?
With the two services being so similar at this stage, it’s hard to pick a winner, though Joost has a headstart in terms of content, having already signed deals with Endemol, Warner Music and Viacom.
We’ll be seeing more services like Joost and Babelgum, no question about it. It will be very interesting to see how the UK TV powerplayers like BSkyB and Virgin Media react to these upstarts over the coming years…