User-generated video sharing site ViTrue, Inc. has come some reputable new investors, including Ron Conway, one of the original investors in Google, often called the “Godfather of Silicon Valley.” Last month, the company announced a major Series “A” round of funding from Comcast Interactive Capital and Turner Broadcasting – although they could only say it’s in the single digit millions. Other recent investors include Dallas Clement, executive vice president of strategy at Cox, Bahns Stanley, a founding executive of Landmark Communications (owner of Weather Channel), and a handful of others.
ViTrue hosts user-generated (UG) video a la YouTube with an advertising focus. This relatively new type of advertising is called Branded Video Community, meant to promote “brand engagement.” So if you love the San Francisco Giants, (and who doesn’t?), you can create a video promoting the team and post it through ViTrue.
For now, ViTrue only has homemade video for Moe’s Southwest Grill, Lance Foods, The Cincinnati Bengals, and something called The Nerd League. Not exactly brands I want to “engage” with but I’m not saying this kind of advertising won’t be effective. It’s too soon to tell, but Ted Turner is a believer.
Maybe this is how the online video world will finally figure out how to monetize UG video and avoid copyright lawsuits? Lord knows YouTube is worth a lot of money, but Google hasn’t been talking much about how they’re going to cash in on the acquisition. Plus they keep having to filter content for illegal uploads of copyright material. So if sponsoring UG content is the new plan, ViTrue just has to hope and pray that someone will come up with something hilarious for Moe’s Southwest Grill. (Note to contributors: competitive eating is always a winner!)
Turner Broadcasting will test this model later this year when it launches an online campaign called “Funny or Not?”
ViTrue is no stranger to UG video. The company owns Sharkle.com, the online video-sharing community.