RedLasso: Cool News Vid Tools, but No Content Deals on Which to Use Them

Share other people’s videos first, cut deals to legitimately get access to them later? How 2006! RedLasso, which Jackson first covered after he met the company at PodCamp Philly, is starting to publicize its plans to allow users to clip and share TV and radio news and infotainment.

Here’s how it works: RedLasso records and hosts hours upon hours of local and national TV and radio programming. Bloggers, looking to include multimedia coverage of a particular story, come to RedLasso, where they can search for relevant content. Once it pops up, the bloggers slice and dice it into perfect soundbites. Then they embed it on their sites. An ideal user would be someone like celebrity snarker Perez Hilton, who has actually been beta-testing RedLasso and sending it his firehose of traffic.

RedLasso’s not the first company with this concept. Voxant, Mochila and ClipSyndicate have similar offerings. But those sites differ because they have existing syndication deals with scores of media companies.

RedLasso founder and CTO Jim McCusker argued in an interview today that there’s another difference: “With other sites like Voxant, you have to use the clip they want. We don’t impose that on the user; our users can define the exact clip they want.” In a video demo, you can see for yourself that RedLasso’s tools do seem to be much more self-serving and web-friendly than those of its competitors.

RedLasso is hard at work making friends with its content providers, and is “finalizing agreements” to provide its tools on broadcasters’ web sites as well. However, no such agreements have been signed. The company plans to hold off making its own site available to the public for the next six to 12 months while it negotiates deals. At the same time, beta users’ clips (here’s one from Perez Hilton) are publicly available.

With 20 employees and $6.5 million in funding from Pat Croce, Anthem Capital, Osage Ventures, and the Guggenheim Opportunity Fund, RedLasso isn’t a fly-by-night operation. But good thing for those venture dollars! The company doesn’t plan to make money until it gets approval from broadcasters to use their content. McCusker said RedLasso’s business model is to use contextual advertising to generate additional revenue streams to news provider, and take a cut. That’s an approach that’s also being pursued by search players like Nexidia.

RedLasso has licensed phonetic search technology and is also searching closed captioning of broadcasts, according to McCusker. It is developing features to block sports and entertainment content — which would be quite difficult to license — from its index. The company seemed to draw positive reactions from bloggers — its target partners — when it demoed at the Blog World Expo last week.

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