SQUA.RE – luxurious but locked-down video

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If you like watching moody-looking (or are they just bored?) models standing around in the background of a TV commercial shoot, while Keira Knightley walks around in curlers, then I have the very web TV channel for you. SQUA.RE is an online video portal (yes, I said portal) dedicated to luxury and style. Its various channels around luxury and fashion are delivered via Flash and look pretty damn expensive to make to be honest. The company behind this is based in Notting Hill, one of the most expensive parts of London and has 25 staff, including part time people and people working from other cities (Paris, Monaco…).

The co-founders are Olivier Bassil (a self-described socialite), Jeremy Genin, CEO Paul-René Albertini (most recently Chairman and CEO of Warner Music International) and Jacqui Timothy, Chief Operating Officer (formerly a manager in Accenture London’s Media & Entertainment practice). I can just imagine the suits these guys wear (and yes, I’m slightly jealous).

Now, the problem is that despite the site’s smart focus on one market (18-35 year olds interested luxury goods) none of the media they are generating is portable outside of the site. I can’t embed the video into another site. This doesn’t make any sense at all. I don’t care that it is organised into channels. I want to put Keira Knightley on my blog/social profile! In a way they could just dump the channels and put up a list of embed codes. Set your media free guys.

To me this is a TV 1.0 model shoe-horned online. The video is great, but it’s wasted stuck on this old-fashioned ‘portal’ site. And their advertisers can’t be getting that much value out of it.

  • http://www.fukeo.com adult video search

    I imagine their advertisers don’t want to appear on your crappy blog!

  • Le Techcrunch Wars

    looks like a pissed Arrington is at war with Loic Le Meur. http://twitter.com/loiclemeur now that is news.

  • http://www.hokstad.com/ Vidar

    I interviewed with these people before christmas for their head of engineering position, but declined an offer to come back for a second interview mainly because I had options that was a better fit for me – their niche just doesn’t excite me enough – and I wasn’t too interested in jumping straight into another early stage startup.

    Mr. Albertini seemed like a very nice guy. Very unassuming and relaxed, and with a lot of passion for what he’s doing. And while I’m sure he owns a nice suit or three, things looked pretty casual around the office.

    I don’t know if they’ve moved, or whether your definition of how far Notting Hill extends is very different from mine, but when I visited them right before christmas their offices at Ladbroke Grove, just a minute or twos walk from Ladbroke Grove tube station, a good 20-25 minutes walk from Notting Hill. A very nice converted building, but not particularly upscale, and quite small.

    As for portability, “adult video search” is exactly right – they are going for a level of “exclusivity” and status with advertisers that are very cautious about diluting or weakening their brands appeal. Many of them certainly would rather reach a smaller, more targeted set of users than be plastered all over some random persons blog.

    Whether it’ll work or not is another issue – obviously to get that level of exclusivity they are losing out on a lot of viral potential – but the lack of portability is there for a reason.

  • Mike Butcher

    Ok, point taken about the lack of embed codes. So in that case they better get a damn more memorable / consumer friendly URL if they want people to visit. If not then I give them about a year.

  • http://www.fukeo.com NSFW video search

    Yes, I agree about the brand name, its all very clever having a cool TLD, but for SEO its a nightmare.

    Having said that, they’ll probably get the posh advertisers to drive users to the video pages from their print ads, so sort of an embed code for magazines?

    Don’t worry about the content, that cost will get passed onto the advertisers…

  • Charlie

    They should probably sort out their flash stuff to, I have version 9 installed but their site just insists that I need version 8?!?

  • andrew

    I visited the website today and I must say i think that your views and comments are affected by the fact that they can afford good suits and you don’t…
    Personally, I like to go out, travel and be connected to glamorous people. Squa.re is not just a place to watch videos as you said but you can also open your profile and use it as a “Exclusive” social network.

  • Mike Butcher

    Andrew – Ooooooooooooooooh, get you! Yes, I am motivated by pure jealousy. Who isn’t!? ;-) But seriously, I’d love to know if your networking is landing you any dates with Keira-a-likes.

  • http://www.trendcatching.com jamescoops

    “Personally, I like to go out, travel and be connected to glamorous people.”

    It’s Ernst Malmsen ? Boo.com 2.0 ?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1812298687 Asif Ifteakhar Ridoy

    Dentist Tarzana, Encino,Woodland Hills, Irvine,Implant,Braces


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