November 8, 2006
Comcast Ziddio Platform Launches as Beta Version

Major cable and Internet provider Comcast made news on Monday with its announcement of releasing a live beta version of its user-generated Internet video platform.

The product is called Ziddio, and it currently allows users to upload videos related to the content of official participants, which are now the Style Network on Comcast and pay-television channel Cinemax. This allows use of some copyrighted material specifically in response to videos related to shows on these two networks.

Not surprisingly, initial prompts include requests for videos related to Star Wars, which Cinemax is currently re-airing. Since there is a wealth of user-generated content and what seems inexhaustable interest in creating user-generated content for the Star Wars films, this seems to be a safe place to start. There's no doubt that certain programs inspire the creation of user-generated content more than others.

The plan is to bridge this user-generated content cross-platform into video-on-demand for Comcast users as well, picking the best content for VOD. According to intiial press releases, the winner will get a zero-gravity flight at the Kennedy Space Center.

The Clean House show on the Style network requests videos of the messiest homes viewers can find, with the winning videos being picked to be houses to be cleaned up on the program.

The full site will be launched next month after running in its beta version for several weeks.

There are preliminary videos on the site right now for comedy, animation, games, movies, horror/sci-fi, action/drama, music, and reality.

The site is well worth checking out. Also, cross-reference Ivan Askwith's recent post here about FX Fancasting and Henry Jenkins' and Geoffrey Long's recent thoughts on YouTube here as well.

Also, the AP story points out that this comes along with the company's Halloween release of FearNet.

Pete Cashmore points out that the test site has launched alongside news of a Verizon partnership with YouTube, concluding about Comcast's site that "the early version is good, but it's not as compelling as existing video-sharing sites. It's a good idea, though."

MarketingVOX points out that the company is hoping to distinguish itself from YouTube both by offering prizes for the best videos and creating a more slick and cinematic visual feel for the site.