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IFILM, Soapbox Consolidate & Retrench

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Amidst all the hubbub about frontrunner YouTube’s legal troubles and wannabe front-runner ‘NewCo’, smaller sites are taking their disappointing developments under the radar. In the last day, news got out that Viacom’s IFILM will be folded into the website of its brother property SPIKE TV, and MSN Soapbox has backed out of its public beta period.

IFILM, which MTV Networks paid $49 million for in October 2005, has long been a top web video site, though lately it has obviously been eclipsed by other players. The site, which we remember best for its film trailers, also hosts plenty of user-generated content as well as Viacom shows. So it’s somewhat a surprise to hear it will be reduced to a platform and traffic funnel for the “leading male-branded content” channel SPIKE.

This is apparently really exciting, from an advertising perspective at least. Viacom promises it will provide “everything a guy craves.” Oh, and it will be “edgy.” Nice knowing you, IFILM.

It’s never a good sign for a site to shut its doors, even if it’s only to new signups, but that’s what Microsoft’s user-generated video site, Soapbox, has done. While it’s taking 30 to 60 days to implement screening technology from Audible Magic, Soapbox has closed new user registration, reports paidContent’s Staci Kramer.

“We’ve been thinking of filtering for a long time. It’s the right time to pull the trigger. It’s the right thing to do for the long term,” spokesperson Adam Sohn told her.

Soapbox was late to the game, and while it hasn’t released user numbers, it’s fair to assume that it’s not that widely adopted. However, its parent MSN Video just surged past MySpace Vids to the number two spot behind YouTube, according to Hitwise’s measure.

Consolidation and retrenching is hardly unexpected at this point, but it’s interesting to see it from powerful companies like Viacom and Microsoft.

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