Is the Internet finally ready for a live streaming video network? Jason Calacanis thinks so. Calacanis and two of his LA pals—Matt Coffin (founder of LowerMyBills, and who just launched the DailyD) and Sky Dayton (founder of Earthlink, Boingo, Helio)—just put $300,000 into Calacanis latest per project, This Week In. The original founder of Weblogs Inc before he sold it to AOL (and current CEO of Mahalo), Calacanis says he wants to do to live video on the web what he did with blogs.
“Exact same model as Weblogs Inc,” he says: “Try a bunch of different shows, recruit tons of talent and double down on big winners. It’s blogging all over again… the land grab is on!”
This Week In already has eight shows, a couple of them hosted by Calacanis himself. A year ago, Calacanis launched his own weekly live video talk show called This Week In Startups. There is also Kevin Pollak’s Chat Show, This Week In Twitter, This Week In iPad, This Week in Android, This Week In Venture Capital, . . . you get the idea. Of course, there is also another live video streaming network that uses the “This Week In” naming convention, Leo Laporte’s This Week In Tech (aka, TWiT.TV). But Calacanis is not one to shy away from controversy, and most of his viewers probably don’t care anyway.
Calacanis tapped Mahalo CTO Mark Jeffrey to be CEO of This Week In. He says that all the shows combined are getting 450,000 downloads or streams per week, with three of them (This Week In iPad, This Week in Startups, and The Kevin Pollack Chat Show) topping 100,000 downloads/streams each. The shows are streamed live via Ustream.TV and then are available as video podcasts on iTunes. Commercials from sponsors are read out loud on each show.
ThisWeekIn plans to launch another 30 shows over the next two years. Why now? Broadband is pretty ubiquitous, for one thing. But Calacanis is especially excited about the possibilities the iPad will bring as a viewing device. “Watching streaming shows on your iPad and TV is the future,” he declares. Can he take the Weblogs model and repeat it in live online video? It certainly will be entertaining to watch him try.