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Summary:

We questioned Internet TV service Babelgum‘s recent original content development plans. We didn’t think becoming a content studio was a bad idea, rather it was the types of content and the exclusivity requirement that we took issue with. Evidently, the folks at Babelgum took our post […]

We questioned Internet TV service Babelgum‘s recent original content development plans. We didn’t think becoming a content studio was a bad idea, rather it was the types of content and the exclusivity requirement that we took issue with.

Evidently, the folks at Babelgum took our post to heart, so CEO Valerio Zingarelli sent us some comments via email to clear up some of the things we took issue with. His answers are reprinted in full (pardon his rough English).

In it, he defends the exclusivity (and hedges on that a bit), concedes that short films in the U.S. could be a tough sell, and gives a shout out to sister publication Earth2Tech.

Why financing independent content

We have decided to allocate a budget for producing quality content, we haven’t decided yet what kind of content will be produced. We made it to nurture young talent, as Spike [Lee, Babelgum Film Fest Honorary Judge] said, and of course to produce quality content suitable for Babelgum and therefore for the
web.

It’s too early to tell whether this content will be licensed to offline media or to other media. What we are sure of is that it will be content conceived, produced and thought for the web. Which has mostly been made of bite-sized chunks for 2 reasons:

- there wasn’t until every recently a distribution platform for longer/professional content (which is largely illegally downloaded and therefore desired by surfers),

- there wasn’t, except few cases, a production meant for the web.

Our aim is to offer a safe and quality distribution channel to professional producers, to offer to the people the chance to watch this content for free and to finance and to produce great web content made by great professionals.

Exclusivity (even though that’s not decided) is based on the fact that professional producers want their content to be seen by as many users as possible, but at the same time all the professional producers we met in these years want their content to be safe, not downloadable, quality wise respected. They all appreciated Babelgum as an answer to these issues. And, moreover, Babelgum is not a pay or closed platform: everyone can access, and we’re sure that the more great content there will be the more the people will do.

As all entrepreneurial activities Babelgum is based on a vision, which means doing something that didn’t exist before.

The 15M dollars will be used to finance and produce content suitable for Babelgum viewers, listening to their tastes, studying the different countries and their habits and producing content suitable for all the regions our viewers come from, including USA that is naturally a major market. USA are a tough market for shorts, but are a great market for series and social documentaries. We’ll keep this into consideration and deliver to US viewers the best content they wish to see.

Ecology is a major topic, there’s tv channels, great blogs (like earth2tech), magazines and media dedicated to this. Giving a special area inside Babelgum to all those who produce professional content dedicated to this topic and offering Babelgum users the possibility to watch this content for free was always felt by us as an obligation. I think people will enjoy reading smart earth2tech posts, watching awesome feature films and appreciating original professional content on Babelgum about this same topic, content they wouldn’t otherwise be able to see.

Valerio

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  1. “pardon his rough English”
    You should have interviewed him in italian. ;-)

  2. Chris Albrecht Thursday, March 13, 2008

    Hi Pepe,

    I wish that I could!

  3. We spoke to him and we asked him to respond to your criticisms. Apologies for the link but I think it’s relevant:
    http://en.onsoftware.com/babelgum-talks-about-content-and-the-future-of-web-tv/

  4. Chris Albrecht Thursday, March 13, 2008

    In hindsight, my own English was a little rough when I used the phrase “rough English.” It was not meant as a slight. We were actually impressed that Mr. Zingarelli took the time to write us the note. In a world of over-polished press releases, his off-the-cuff remarks were refreshing and were appreciated.

  5. Peter friedman Friday, March 14, 2008

    My guess is that this Italian guy is starving for users, so that he can get contracts (and money) from advertisers.
    I might be wrong but I think I remember that this company has known a lot of shifts in its strategy. The reason for producing content is a new shift which proves that the basic concept of babelgum is wrong.
    PS : english is not my native language either and is probably also rough.

  6. Babelgum is a pretty interesting company, based in Dublin, Ireland its got a great team and I’ve heard interesting things about it for the future. There are rumours it is going to purchase rights off the state broadcaster in Ireland RTE and hopefully should be a good medium for irish media to go global. Best of luck to them!

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