Lycos Picks PermissionTV to Help Fulfill its Video Ambitions

In an ongoing effort to become a more full-fledged broadband audio and video entertainment destination, Lycos has signed on Internet television distribution platform PermissionTV as a technology provider for streaming video, progressive video downloads and video advertising.

The system is currently in beta on the Lycos site; the company aims to have an infrastructure in place to offer a more robust menu of ad-supported and subscription-based short- and long-form video content by September.

Currently, “Our intention is more to test the technologies…to test the new advertising models,” said Lycos COO Brian Kalinowski. He added, “I don’t think you’ll see full-blown implementation on this till late Q3, a mid-September time frame.”

In addition to enabling in-stream ads within streaming video served from the Lycos site, the PermissionTV platform allows Lycos to include updateable ads within downloaded video that’s viewable through a desktop application. Each time a user accesses the application, it automatically connects to the PermissionTV system, uploading information about which ads users viewed and replacing ads in the previously-downloaded content with new ads.

Advertisers will also have the ability to link from a standard 30-second in-stream video spot to a video clip featuring more advertorial content, such as a product demonstration or short how-to program. The number of ads placed within content will be determined on a case by case basis, according to Kalinowski, who noted that Lycos’s content partners will have a say in those decisions. “Our goal would be to make the advertising experience as non-interruptive as possible,” he continued.

At the moment, the only content running on the PermissionTV platform on Lycos is “World Cup Soccer from the Fringe,” a series of free original short programs filmed in various World Cup locales in Germany. Kalinowski said no ads are running within the PermissionTV content yet.

Lycos expects to announce more content deals in the coming weeks. The firm is in talks with TV and movie studios and film festivals to distribute branded TV shows and pilots, movies, indie films and documentaries through the service. Kalinowski explained that many of the production houses Lycos is negotiating with are more interested in ad-supported models than subscription-based distribution models. “They want to eliminate as many barriers to consumption as possible.”

Other videos available on the site now include TV footage and movie trailers provided primarily through partnerships with Broadband Enterprises and IFILM, according to Kalinowski.

Lycos hopes to have the PermissionTV system and extended content offerings in place by this fall, in time for the return of 18-25 year-old college students to campus where broadband connections and spending time online are commonplace.

The company also anticipates attaching viral and social components to future video content. “We want to create socialization around this video content,” explained Kalinowski, noting the potential for video sharing, mash-ups, and virtual movie cinemas through which users could view the same film from different computers while engaging in online conversation. “These are the types of scenarios that we’re working towards,” he said.

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