November 10, 2006 1:53 PM PST

Revver video gets TV casting call

Video-sharing start-up Revver has won a starring role on television.

Fame TV, a new channel available in the United Kingdom and Ireland via British Sky Broadcasting's satellite service, has partnered with Revver to broadcast the Web site's content, the companies announced Friday. Fame TV will choose which videos to debut from a selection of user-created content given to it by Revver, the Los Angeles-based company said.

Revver stands out from the online video crowd, dominated by online sensation YouTube, for pairing user-generated videos with ad content based on relevancy and then sharing ad revenue with content owners.

Fame TV generates revenue each time its viewers vote for their favorite video via Short Message Service text message, and plans to split that revenue 50-50 with Revver. Revver will then give 50 percent of what it receives per video to the video maker. Fame TV charges about 95 cents per vote.

"This definitely seems in line with (Revver's) strategy of continuing to find new distribution outlets for their content," said Josh Martin, an analyst with Yankee Group who has been following Revver. "If they are sharing revenue and they can get that news out to the content creator community saying, 'We can get you $500 instead of the $50,' maybe it becomes more appealing."

Revver is the first service to provide video to Fame TV, which is available in more than 8 million British and Irish homes, according Revver.

Fame TV, which launched this month, also accepts user-generated content directly via its own Web site. People who submit a video clip or picture directly to this site are charged a little under $3 per upload.

About 40 percent of British Sky Broadcasting is owned by News UK, a subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. News Corp. also happens to be the parent company of MySpace, a competitor of sorts to both Revver and YouTube in terms of video sharing.

YouTube, which was recently purchased by Google for $1.65 billion, does not offer monetary compensation to people who post videos to its site. Most of those are driven by an urge to share or to make a name for themselves. YouTube retains the right to redistribute user-posted content without compensation, according to the terms of its Web site.

It may also be closing in on its own TV deal. The Wall Street Journal reported this week that YouTube is in talks with Verizon Communications to distribute its video via cell phone and television.

Martin said he is "bullish" on Revver's opportunity, but that brand recognition will be the key to whether Revver succeeds. The content Revver feeds to Fame TV will not be branded, but there will be ads for Revver running between clips, a Revver representative said.

"I think they have a really great business model. They are on sure ground and sure footing," Martin said. "I think the issue for them is getting additional content, and you do that by building a strong brand name."

While YouTube clearly has the upper hand in name recognition, Martin said Revver has one thing that YouTube does not.

"They have an advantage because they are careful and watch content, and are prone to remove (dubious content) before it gets uploaded. I think that's why it's less legal liability on behalf of Fame TV to do a deal with Revver," said Martin.

YouTube has become notorious as a place to find pirated television and movies clips, and has come under legal scrutiny on matters of copyright content posted illegally. The company does have a policy of removing copyright material called to its attention, but it does not proactively police its content.

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News Corp., BSkyB, YouTube, compensation, TV

 

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