Ustream.tv, a webcasting startup that is working hard to establish itself as a platform, has replaced its CEO. Chuck Wallace, a founder of Esurance, joined the Los Altos, Calif.-based company as chief executive last month. Chris Yeh, a Ustream angel investor who had stepped in as CEO, will now serve as an adviser, Wallace told NewTeeVee in an interview Monday.
While Ustream had employed publicity stunts similar to competitor Justin.tv early on, sending out founder Johnny Ham to live-stream his life, it’s now describing itself as a “micro-broadcasting platform” to enable live talk shows, events, conferences, and citizen journalism. Some 85,000 broadcasters — from high school football fans to churches to big-shot entertainers to presidential candidate — have used the video service, which is reliable but grainy.
Streams receive an average of 10 to 40 viewers, with some reaching tens of thousands simultaneously, according to co-founder Brad Hunstable. The company says it seeds a million viewer hours per month, which certainly sounds like a lot, but we’re not sure how to wrap our heads around it. However impressive it actually is, it sounds expensive.
Tuesday the company is announcing it will syndicate content on social network Bebo (along with other new partners such as CBS, MTV, and JibJab). Wallace said the company, which provides its basic streaming program for free, is using licensing, advertising, and sponsorship to generate revenue.
Ustream, which has 15 employees, has not raised any money beyond its initial angel funding, according to Wallace, though we have to think that’s likely to change soon.
Many people, including Om, have argued that live TV on the Internet seems like an anachronism after the DVR time-shifting revolution. However, you can’t beat live when it comes to news and interactivity.