Video-sharing startup Veoh has blocked visitors from all but 33 countries from accessing its site, a spokesperson confirmed to NewTeeVee today.
Veoh’s Gaude Paez told NewTeeVee, “The markets we are exiting collectively represent less than 10 percent of our viewer base.” She maintained that the decision was “not about saving resources but rather re-focusing those resources.” Paez was not able to immediately provide the list of countries where Veoh is still available.
Competition is high in the video space and we want to make sure we’re differentiating ourselves in terms of products and ad platforms to monetize. As a startup we just have to make choices.
Paez said the company would soon be enhancing its ad targeting and working to expand access beyond the PC.
Users flooded the Veoh forums with complaints over the weekend, saying they felt discriminated against for being from certain countries: “I’m from Dominican Republic, and when I saw that message I really wanted to cry…. I still want to,” wrote one user, and “this is very unfair not even an email alert i just couldn’t enter, its sucks!!!” said another.
According to Wikipedia, users report being blocked from Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, Indonesia, Chile, Argentina, St. Kitts and Nevis, Guatemala, Luxembourg, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Brazil, Puerto Rico, Guam, Jamaica, Barbados, El Salvador, Hungary, Malta, Macedonia, Slovenia, Slovakia, Ukraine, Colombia, Cyprus, Romania, the Cayman Islands, Guadeloupe, Saudi Arabia, Peru, Panama, Czech Republic, Turkey, Croatia, Lithuania, Jordan, Egypt, Bulgaria, Serbia, Iceland, Bermuda, Thailand, Brunei, Honduras, the Bahamas, Nicaragua, Anguilla and Guyana.
Paez said Veoh is “absolutely not” running out of cash, but she did confirm the company is looking for funding. “We’re in the midst of talking to additional entities, partnerships and looking at strategic things as well,” she said. Veoh has raised more than $40 million from Goldman Sachs, Tom Freston, Jonathan Dolgen, Shelter Capital Partners, Spark Capital, Michael Eisner’s Tornante Company, and Time Warner Investments. Update 6/3: Veoh raised $30 million more from Intel, Adobe and others.
We wonder if Veoh’s move portends a long-expected shakeup in the online video industry — after all, these services aren’t paying for themselves yet. Lack of overseas revenue is hardly their only problem. Earlier this year, when DivX shut down Stage6, its high-quality video-sharing option, it cited operating expenses. Ironically enough, Stage6 (now just a landing page) prominently recommends Veoh as an alternative for its users (“Stage6 is introducing Veoh Networks Inc. as a site that promises to offer our users a smooth transition. Millions of people use Veoh each month and we feel it is a great fit for our users.”).
Hat tip to Andrew Baron at Dembot.