Meet Your Truman Show, Web Talent Agent

Personal video sharing will have another home at the soon-to-launch startup Your Truman Show. The Italian-owned site recently opened a San Francisco office for marketing and market research, and invited NewTeeVee over for a visit.

yts3.jpgThe Truman Show, isn’t that a trademarked movie? Well, yes, it was — and that’s where the inspiration comes from. But Paramount’s trademark on the show expired last summer and the company snatched it up. You might think based on the concept of the 1998 movie and recent references to it around the phenomenon, YTS would be about live-streaming, but it’s more of a niche YouTube.

The idea is to encourage personal unscripted storytelling with a dynamic ranking system, promising distribution and other gigs for video creators who achieve the top spots.

“Storytelling is kind of watered down in the YouTube model, which is still a distribution model,” claimed Matteo Fabiano, who runs marketing for YTS. To encourage early content the company has hired videographers to post personal stories; samples are exhibited on the site now, though it’s not yet open for business. Full screenshots are below. You can sign up now to be part of the beta when it opens.

YTS divides users into two groups, publishers and reviewers, assigning each a score reflecting their ranking within their group. Scores depend on popularity and ratings of posts, and decline over time. I have to say I’m not convinced that concrete incentives like popularity and fame will drive the best personal video.

It seems to me being personal comes from a desire to say something, often for a small audience and elicited by others participating in a community. The intangibles that Vimeo (which is perhaps the closest thing to YTS already on the market) uses as encouragement are much less formalized. But I suppose Real World auditions are still crowded, so that’s not to say there’s any lack of extroverts these days. The end result, if it works as planned, will probably resemble more of web talent agency than a community site.

The site features extensive use of pink, though not to terrible effect. The features are what we’re all used to on any video-sharing site, with the addition of nice-looking visualization tools for editorially determined relevant videos. “It is very much about the content, there is nothing noteworthy from a platform standpoint,” admitted Fabiano.

YTS founders Arturo Artom, known for his founding of Italian tech companies Netsystem and Muvis, and Luca Ferrero raised $1.4 million for the company back in November, before they started building the site.