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Move Networks Makes Web TV Watchable

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Move Networks, which has developed some interesting streaming video technology over the last two-and-a-half years, is finally starting to talk about itself. The company helps TV networks get their shows online using its techniques for high-quality in-browser streaming. We had previously written about Move when word got out it had closed $11 million in funding.

American Fork, Utah-based Move signed some impressive customers while flying under the radar: Fox Network, the CW, Televisa, and E! Online. You can check out examples on MySpace and the CW website As of the last month, Move works on Macs as well. So we can say from personal experience, the quality is most excellent. Really — web TV from the networks that’s actually watchable!

Move’s trick, as described to me today by Jim Ericson, VP of marketing, is to deliver video as a standard web object, cached in small bits. This borrows some aspects of peer-to-peer, but is friendlier to ISPs. Move doesn’t use special media servers, and adjusts the video quality based on available bandwidth. The streaming is made possible using a small applet that users must download to the browser.

Benefits to the viewer: no buffering, no stalling, and backwards and forwards navigation within a live stream, high-quality video. Benefits to the content owner: cheaper, detailed reporting, high-quality video.

Ericson said Move sees about 35 minutes average viewing time per user, making advertising and sponsorship revenue models more viable than on sites with shorter engagement. He said Move charges based on streams delivered rather than revenue-share, and supports subscription, purchase, and advertising models.

I asked Ericson whether Move would get involved in supporting user uploads and showing them on site players in addition to showing its customers’ libraries. He said that was something the company is “very interested in doing” but would not comment further, seemingly implying such deals are in the works.

Move was founded by Drew Major, best known for creating Novell’s flagship NetWare software. Most recently Major co-founded video networking startup Arroyo. It formally incorporated last summer during the fund-raising process — which amounted to $11.3 million from Steamboat Ventures and Hummer Winblad, closed in December. The company now has 35 employees.

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