SQUA.RE – luxurious but locked-down video


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.