It seems Babelgum is enjoying the search for quality content so much, it's becoming a content company. The heavily-financed P2P platform is creating a 10 million euro ($15.38 million) fund to invest in 15-minute new and exclusive productions, "transforming (us) into a digital media studio", according to the press officer (via Variety). "Execs at the web platform are also looking into other ways to monetise the material, including the possibility of selling longer versions on DVD or to TV broadcasters."
After flirting with TV channels early on, Babelgum soon began courting indie film makers, launching contests and sponsorship deals to give it access to original new flicks that might set it apart from UGC behemoths like YouTube (the contents of its online festival judged by director Spike Lee went live on the service this week). While the latest shift, creating a studio, seems like a logical extension of content acquisition plans, it's a different ball game altogether and the switch from P2P to DVD suggests a business model like the British weather - changeable.
The staff list has been same. Valerio Zingarelli replaced co-founder and CEO Erik Lumer as top dog in July, prompting Lumer to take a back seat before quitting the company altogether in October to become CEO of RawFlow. CTO Mallku Caballero left the outfit around in November, saying he "did not fully adhere to the vision and to the management style brought in by the new CEO" and chief architect Gianni Scenini followed him out in February with similar complaints. BT (NYSE: BT) Vision director Mark Cranwell joined in February as director of content strategy.
By Robert Andrews