1Cast: Sort Of Like Redlasso, But Legal

Earlier this year we watched as Redlasso, a very popular video service that allowed bloggers to clip portions of television content, got beaten into submission (at least temporarily) by a flurry of lawsuits. The company’s platform gave bloggers access to content spanning popular channels including CNN and ESPN almost immediately after it aired, and was a favorite across blogs like The Huffington Post and others. Unfortunately, Redlasso didn’t secure any rights to the content it was distributing, and it wasn’t long before the networks started to crack down. Now 1Cast, a new startup launching today in private beta, is looking to fill the void left by Redlasso by offering similar clips of recent television footage with one key distinction: it has all been fully licensed. TechCrunch readers can grab one of 1000 invites here.

At launch the site is offering content from Reuters, CNBC, CBC, AP and the AFP, and plans to have more content partners by the end of the year. Footage is sorted into categories including Sports and Headlines, as well as by individual network. Unlike Redlasso, which used its own recording system, 1Cast receives its content directly from its partners. At this point it sounds like some of the networks are slower than others in getting their content distributed (quick turn around was one of the things that made Redlasso so appealing), but they are expected to speed up over time.

Instead of appealing exclusively to bloggers, 1Cast is trying to serve a more general market by allowing users to create frequently updated video ‘channels’ on topics they’re interested in, which can be embedded on blogs and are also viewable on the iPhone/iPod Touch (it’s sort of like your own personal news network).

In practice the service seems to work adequately well, though I have some problems with it. For one, searching for a specific clip is difficult – videos are all broken into ‘channels’ and grouped with other videos on the same topic, but it’s hard to tell what each clip is actually about without watching it. And it seems that every time you want to watch a clip you need to sit through the ads attached, which gets really annoying when you weren’t interested in it in the first place.

1Cast may catch on with the general public, who may be more interested in the ‘personal news channel’ aspect of the site rather than being able to embed a breaking news clip on their blog. But until the site has a larger collection of content and a better way to search through it, it probably won’t appeal to the same blogger audience that Redlasso did.