Turner Broadcasting has flirted with virtual worlds for a while. Now the Time Warner (NYSE: TWX) division will try for a relationship with a little more depth, signing a one-year deal with Kaneva to build and test virtual worlds for its entertainment networks. Turner gets access to Kaneva’s technology and tools to create and use Web communities and “virtual spaces” on Kaneva’s site and in the virtual world of Kaneva . (Unlike most 2.0 names, this one actually has a meaning: “canvas” in Latin.) One of the Turner spaces will act as a virtual portal for the rest. One intriguing twist: each Turner virtual community and “Virtual World” space will include an embedded video player streaming related Turner content. Earlier this year, Kaneva integrated synchronized viewing of YouTube videos, which sounds like a precursor for this.
Both Turner and start-up Kaneva are based in Atlanta. Kaneva co-founder and CEO Christopher Klaus should have plenty of money to self-fund — he founded Internet Security Systems (ISS) in 1994 and sold it to IBM for more than $1 billion. Kaneva co-founder Greg Frame was founder of IndigoOlive Software, Inc. In beta, Kaneva is trying for a mix of ad support, premium membership and virtual good sales.