Snowboarders get Snowvision

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Diversion Media, publisher of broadband channels, announced the launch of Snowision, a video site for the snowboarding community.

Snowvision marks the second niche video site from Diversion, a New York-based company founded by Nicholas Butterworth, former CEO of MTV Interactive Group, and Tatum Lade, former head of technology at iFilm.

“Snowboarders are a tech savvy, demanding audience. We’re hoping to provide the community with a platform for all the great content that’s out there,” Butterworth said.

The process of creating an account in Snowvision is a breeze, like a drill. Once you upload a video, you can link to it, embed it, and share it. The Ruby on Rails-based interface also allows for clicking and dragging of clips to build a playlist, all from a single page. Again, just like a drill.

The real meat of the site is with the original content and features that it offers. Even if you’re not a snowboarder, it’s easy to dig features like the personalized weather feeds, which is a must for this type of outdoor activity. It also has customized resort data. You know, you need to ensure that there’s still snow when you get to the place. Topping it all, Snowvision offers high resolution Flash video delivery. It even has a full screen video mode that does not leave you teary-eyed, which happens to me every time I watch Google Video in that fashion.

What I look for in online services like this is how it can empower its users, particularly the people who are directly involved, in this case the snowboarders. Athletes need moolah for equipment, travel, and to join tournaments. With Snowvision’s “Sponsor Me” section, snowboarders can show how they attack the halfpipe to potential sponsors. It gives equal playing field to everyone. Who knows, they might discover the next Flying Tomato through this section.

Butterworth said that since Snowvision was launched late in this riding season, Diversion is holding off on home-page advertising for right now, but plans to seek sponsors for the 2007-08 North America season. Currently the site has Google ads on secondary pages.

In October 2006, Diversion launched and is scheduled to launch several video-driven community sites over the next year. The sites will all use Diversion’s self-built video sharing infrastructure, with customized interfaces for each separate audience.

(Additional reporting by Paul Kapustka.)

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