Internet television outfit Babelgum has let us know it will be accepting beta testers starting next Wednesday, April 18. Interested users can request beta access starting Friday on the Babelgum website and will receive invites by Wednesday. After that, the
site client will be open to the public, leaving beta status next month if all goes as planned.
Babelgum, often compared to Joost (see our early review from this January), says it will focus on niche content that is not available elsewhere online — “independent films, short films, documentaries, travel programming, international sports video, etc,” according to U.S. spokesperson Wilson Cleveland– rather than the high-profile deals Joost has been signing.
It’s perhaps a decision made less by choice than by necessity, but Babelgum touts some impressive early deals. First up: exclusive distribution rights to Spike Lee’s new documentary about poverty in Africa, premiering on Babelgum on Wednesday and running for the next three months. Cleveland also touted partnerships with 20 independents and two yet-to-be-disclosed majors, with 3,500 hours of content to be available on the site next week. Content will be either bought outright or monetized through revenue sharing from advertising, he said.