Instant Media Grinds to a Halt

Instant Media, an Internet TV software provider, has ceased operations. The company had offered web video software similar to Miro, Joost, Veoh, and Babelgum.

Chris Tew called attention to the company’s demise last week with a blog post on his Web TV Wire site. After reading Tew’s piece — which was based on the very good evidence of Instant Media’s software not working, its site being down, and its affiliate partner removing mention of it — we sent out a pile of emails and voicemails to try to get ahold of the company. We got a single response, from Eric Sterling, an Instant Media developer.

“Scott Blum, the eccentric billionaire that was funding our company, decided to scuttle it mid-July.”

Pack rat that I am, I dug out an Instant Media — I’M as they called it, at the posh domain of http://www.im.com — press presentation from May of 2006, when I met with CEO Andy Leak. He was pushing the company’s HD-quality viewing experience, based on “patent-pending software [that] turns any PC into a DVR” and its homegrown “iHD” video standard.

At the time, it made me wary that the startup was so focused on something called “BuyTV,” a 30-minute weekly show with clickable links for e-commerce. Would people really want to download a piece of software so they could be relentlessly pitched? I ended up electing to not write about the company

Not that such reasoning sounds unfamiliar these days in business plans from the likes of Joost, Ooyala, Asterpix, and Delivery Agent. But remember, this was before the heyday of DMCA takedowns, back when online video seemed infinite, ad-free, and browser-based.

FireAnt, another early company in the Internet video space, was also at risk of going out of business, but recently sold its technology assets to SonicMountain for $400,000.

In conclusion, anyone in the market for a good two-letter domain name?