Updated: Rafat adds: I am interviewing Scaglia on Monday morning, and will have more on Babelgum and his own views on online video.
Ireland-based P2P TV network Babelgum has opened for business. The company, which is backed by Italian broadband provider Fastweb’s founder Silvio Scaglia, began offering beta versions of its software for download to all members of the public, not just testers, in what will be the first step to competing with that other European peer-to-peer television proposal – Joost.
Like Joost, Babelgum offers high-quality programming to computers over the distributed-connection method and, also like its European contemporary, the outfit is finding content from a range of niche channels and indie providers. But not only will Babelgum be advertising-supported, with a 50/50 split with content providers – until the end of the year, those providers get a guaranteed $5 per 1,000 views. Babelgum may be coming to the party slightly later than Joost, but it may be in with a chance – Scaglia, through Fastweb’s pioneering IPTV service, has built up experience in over-the-net television (he’s investing $475 million from his own pocket plus $175 million from Fastweb, ITNews said), while Babelgum has already been signing up some decent content partners – Spike Lee, Reuters, Associated Press and Ministry Of Sound TV are amongst them. Some of these channels are the same offered by its rival, so we’ll see how they can differentiate or whether there is enough room for both. In a previous interview with CNN Money, Babelgum CEO Erik Lumer said the network would have had up to 2,000 hours of programming available by today’s public beta launch.