The Stars Align for The Venice Project

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The timing couldn’t be better for Kazaa and Skype founders Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis to launch their new TV-based startup, The Venice Project.

Rumors of the new startup first emerged in late July in Business Week, Business 2.0 and GigaOm. This week, more details emerged on Janus Friis’ blog where he says:

It’s simple, really — we are trying to bring together the best of TV with the best of the Internet. We think TV is one of the most powerful, engaging mass medias of all time. People love TV, but they also hate TV. They love the (sometimes…) amazing storytelling, the richness, the quality itself. But they hate the linearness, the lack of choice, the lack of basic things like being able to search. And wholly missing is everything that we are now accustomed to from the Internet: tagging, recommendations, choice, and so on… TV is 507 channels and nothing on and we want to help change that!

While the above taken alone describes little more than YouTube, the earlier business week article above gives a few more hints: P2P distribution technology based on the same technology behind Kazaa and Skype, deals with television networks, time shifted TV over the Internet.

The time is right for this. Consumer demand is there and the networks seem ready to take the step. Apple has secured rights to over 220 television shows and sells them on iTunes. YouTube’s market valuation has been set at $1.65 billion by Google, showing the value of simple show clips on the web. And the networks have shown that they are open to trying new distribution options through the Internet. If Niklas and Janus have been successful in securing rights to network shows, we’re about to be introduced to something which is very likely to result in me cancelling my cable television subscription once and for all.

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