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News Corp’s UK TV broadcaster BSkyB today launched a user-generated video portal in beta. SkyCast is an interesting strategic development because it breaks with the usual trend of individual channels handling their own viewer submissions and instead invites contributions to a single destination. The platform includes the kind of rating, tagging, user profile and off-site embedding features that have helped make sites like YouTube popular, but adds sections for those videos and contributors which appear on TV.
BSkyB is inviting contributions relating to Sky Travel, Sky News, Sky Sports, Sky Movies and Sky One in several corresponding “channels”; other channels include one for TV drama Lost (carried on Sky One). The network has been pre-populated with broadcast library material and no user videos will appear on-air during the trial. Amongst the most intriguing areas for change here is how SkyCast might integrate with Sky News – the 24-hour news channel already has a significant viewer response component, routinely soliciting viewer material directly via MMS, SMS and e-mail, but does have form with referring viewers to separately-branded destinations including the parent’s network-wide Sky Active interactive TV service.
The site is powered by the Google Video platform and clips feature that site’s familiar logo. The broadcaster entered a partnership with the search site in December that has so far seen Google deliver its search, Gmail and advertising technologies to the portal used by the broadband customers inherited from Sky’s acquisition of ISP Easynet – reportedly due for a Q2 launch, SkyCast is the latest manifestation.
– Google And BSkyB In Co-Branded Portal Deal