The Venice Project, a secretive product by Skype founders Janus Friis and Niklas Zennstrom that launched, in beta, this year is nearing completion and BusinessWeek is reporting that it is essentially YouTube with fancy, professional content. That’s right: no more diet Coke and Mentos videos.
The Venice Project is currently trying to convince a range of small, medium, and large media and TV companies to place their full-length, professionally produced content on the network, although anyone will be able to post video on the network. It’s also talking to advertisers and marketers that could place video ads on the network. “People love to watch TV. They love professional storytelling by people who know what they are doing. And people love the Internet, because of the choice and the social qualities. We are trying to bring the best of both worlds together,” Friis said.
I’m going to call bull on this right now, but who knows. Maybe Skype can convince people that the world needs another social video-sharing application funded by unholy trysts between advertisers, Estonians, and the major networks. Maybe Skype can make this a world-wide phenomenon instead of a centrally U.S. one. Maybe they can do to video sharing sites what they did to VOIP — make them intrinsically better.