Jeff Fluhr sold ticketing site StubHub to eBay a few years ago for more than $300 million, and today he launched the public beta of his new site, Spreecast.We talked to Fluhr yesterday, and we’re not quite sure we get it.
Spreecast lets up to four people at a time conduct video broadcasts. Those broadcasts can be watched by hundreds of people who can chat, comment, and ask to join the broadcast.
In other words, it occupies the area between the one-to-many video broadcast sites that have sprung up in the last few years — like Justin.tv, Ustream, or Livestream — and multiperson video chat like Google Hangouts or AOL AV. Or perhaps like group blogging, but for video.
Call it “few to many” for lack of a better term. Is that an actual niche that needs to be served?
We were sceptical, but Fluhr insisted that the site’s private beta testing period, which just ended after six weeks, drew some fans like Summer Sanders, the former Olympic swimmer who’s now a blogger.
“It’s a great platform for bloggers, journalists, celebrities, politicians, anybody who’s got a following….Facebook and Twitter don’t allow face to face interaction with the audience.”
So why wouldn’t they just use a video broadcasting site?
Fluhr explained that Spreecast boasts integration with social networks, which can help them draw viewers, and offers more sophisticated tools for managing broadcasts. For instance, the person who sets up a call can designate himself as the producer. During the call, the producer will see the video streams of all participants and can send text messages to them. So if the producer sees a particularly interesting video stream, he could add it to the broadcast — but only to a maximum of four people. (If there are already four on board, somebody has to leave or be kicked out.)
The social elements and the opportunity for fans to have video interactions with famous people reminded us a bit of Google Hangouts, and Fluhr agreed. But he said that Google will never be willing to integrate Hangouts into other social networks like Spreecast does. “I presume their agenda with Hangouts is pushing Google+.”
Is he right? Is few-to-many broadcasting really a new niche? Check it out for yourself here.
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