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BlinkBox, a new London-based service that lets people send movie and TV scenes as messages to their friends, has gone in to a public beta this morning. The repertoire includes content from Warner Brothers, Universal Pictures, Paramount Pictures, Aardman Animations and Discovery Networks UK. Each movie and TV show gets a page showing several pre-selected scenes – users can “clip” parts of a scene by moving the playhead, then write an accompanying text message, or “blink”, to send via SMS push (for £0.30) or email. Blinks can also be stored on the site, as in the case of this example from one of my favourite movies, Being John Malkovich. On top of that, there are options to buy or rent many full titles over download. The clips are essentially trailers for the full downloads.
BlinkBox scored original funding from Arts Alliance and Eden Ventures before a second round from Nordic Venture Partners this June. The company, which has 37 staff, is not disclosing how much but said it was “healthy”. BlinkBox was founded by former 4 Services MD Michael Comish and former Vodafone (NYSE: VOD) group content services head Adrian Letts; board members include MTV Networks global digital media president Mika Salmi, Arts Alliance partner Adam Valkin, OD2 founder Charles Grimsdale for Eden and Laurence McDonald for Nordic. Like Vringo, which lets users clip TV and movie scenes for video ringtones, BlinkBox is a way to leverage archive programming – this one acknowledges the trend by which some people publish to YouTube movie clips with their own messages without permission.