Bringing TV to the Web: 1Cast Tries Its Hand at Clipping

When RedLasso took down its TV clipping service earlier this year amidst legal action by the TV networks, bloggers who used the service to embed clips of breaking news stories, memorable quotes and gaffes were left without a replacement. Many former users, including Perez Hilton, Jossip, Hot Air and the Huffington Post, have felt the service’s absence in their daily gossip and politics coverage, and at times resorted to ripping and posting TV clips themselves. Now a new service called 1Cast, which we had the scoop on a few months ago, is giving the space an authorized try.

RedLasso not only had an extremely useful (if legally questionable) searchable index of everything that aired on TV, it also had editorial filters to alert its bloggers when hot items came on the tube. “The great thing about RedLasso is that they would alert me of breaking news items of interest to me almost instantly,” Perez Hilton said via email. “Now there’s a much longer delay. Sad.”

Jossip’s David Hauslaib admitted to the same frustration, but noted that the shows and networks have stepped up their efforts at getting clips out on their own sites and on places like Hulu, and also publicizing notable interviews, cameos and the like. He said Comedy Central’s The Daily Show and The Colbert Report now make sure to post up their best clips soon after their shows air, and NBC is nearly constantly emailing bloggers about hot clips (something we can attest to as well).

New entrant 1Cast, which we first got to open up over the summer, has publicly advertised itself as a haven for former users of RedLasso, but now it’s actually opening up its service to private beta (remember, RedLasso was in private beta too, but because its videos were viewable by anybody, it was huge, with some 24 million uniques in April of this year).

Kirkland, Wash.-based 1Cast, by contrast, actually has legit deals with the networks — though not all of the networks just yet. AP, AFP, Reuters, CNBC and CBC are on board, and besides that, “No one has said no to us,” said 1Cast President Anthony Bontrager in a phone interview. Bontrager also said 1Cast has more flexible deals — including things like permission to juxtapose competitors, broadband and mobile distribution rights, and the ability to host broadcasters’ content in its own player — than competitors like Voxant.

But 1Cast isn’t offering a feature-for-feature RedLasso replacement, as some might have hoped. It only has keyword search, rather than full time-stamped speech-to-text indexes, and it won’t be editorially filtering its content besides picking which of its partners’ suggested videos to feature in its breaking stories.

Bontrager said 1Cast’s target users are business professionals, college student news hounds and bloggers. Videos feature pre-rolls and overlays that are sold by both 1Cast and the content providers.

Another drawback is that while 1Cast’s Flash interface is slick, it is not all that usable, at least not in our initial tests. For instance, users cannot embed single videos, but instead must create playlists and then delete all the videos except for the one they want to embed.

1Cast has seven employees and is funded by Eagle River Holdings. It expects to launch publicly early next year. NewTeeVee readers can give 1Cast a try by signing up on this special page.

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