Austin-based video startup latakoo just scored a major deal NBC News and parent company NBC Universal, which involves the launch of a pilot program to integrate the service into its newsrooms, following a period of testing. The company, for those unfamiliar, has been working to make videographers’ lives easier by offering tools to move large SD or HD video files over the Internet.
Latakoo soft-launched back in summer 2011, and has been specifically targeting newsrooms ever since – a place where video transfer is still often done through surprisingly old-school methods, like FTP, sharing via tape, syncing over satellite connections, and general purpose file-sharing services, for example.
The product is a software program that runs on a computer or mobile device, compressing large video files down to 1.5% to 5% of their original size, while still maintaining their quality and resolution. The resulting files are uploaded to a user’s account inside the latakoo site, where they can then be privately shared or streamed to others. You can also tag them, search transcripts, download them in a variety of formats and share to Facebook, YouTube and Box. (With more services on the way). And there’s a RESTful API for other integrations.
Latakoo CTO Ben Werdmuller tells me that NBC Universal had been testing the service over the past year, and is now planning to integrate it into their internal communication systems and workflows over the next five months. “That includes both our one-click video compression and transfer app for Mac, Windows, iPhone and iPad, and our back-end video delivery infrastructure,” he explains. The iOS app was first released in February, and the company is about to push out a new version, he adds.
According to Werdmuller, the company has seen wide usage across broadcasters in the U.S. and Mexico. He mentions that one customer, Nexstar Broadcasting, which runs 55 TV stations in the U.S., is now seeing a 5x to 8x return on its investment. For many broadcasters on the service, the savings come from their ability to ditch the satellite truck, which one client said was $500 to hook up and $25 for every five-minute satellite window. And there’s the truck operator to think of, too. Those are some hefty costs Latakoo is helping to take down. Of course, the service requires that users have an Internet connection of some sort, so it won’t work everywhere. But disconnected areas are fewer and further between these days.
Back in September, our own TechCrunch TV Exec Producer Jon Orlin took a skeptical look at the service, and walked away impressed. He used the service to transfer some large files that would have normally taken at least six hours just to upload. Instead, the file transfer was completed in just 30 minutes, and the video quality was “perfectly acceptable,” he said.
NBC isn’t the only major company working with Latakoo – the company has hundreds of paying customers now, and most recently helped the Science Channel deliver video from the SpaceX launch. To date, Latakoo has raised $1.5 million in seed funding from private investors.