Not much is known publicly about the The Venice Project, the latest business endeavor spawned by Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis, the founders of Kazaa and Skype. If all goes according to plan, however, we’ll know a lot more about The Venice Project in the next few weeks.
According to a report at Informitv.com, Fredrik de Wahl, the chief executive of The Venice Project, will be among the keynote speakers at the Future of Television Forum, which spans November 16 and 17 at NYU’s Stern School of Business in New York. The stealth company’s CEO will give the first public presentation of the project at the conference.
The Venice Project’s website reveals that limited beta testing of the company’s software has begun, but not much else is known. The following text can be found on the site’s introductory page:
We’re working on a project that combines the best things about television with the social power of the internet – a project that gives viewers, advertisers and content owners more choice, control and creativity than ever before.
There’ll be a lot more information about The Venice Project coming this way soon. If you’d like us to keep you informed of our progress by email, please fill in your details below. And if you’d like to take part in our beta-testing program, please click the link to the left. We’ll get back to you as soon as we can.
The report at Informitv.com indicates that Janus Friis has said The Venice Project involves the creation of a streaming peer-to-peer platform for television, which is understood to be a video streaming layer built atop the global index technology that provides the foundation for Skype. Meanwhile, published terms of service suggest that it will involve users uploading and tagging content. The platform will provide a targeted advertising-supported system, sharing revenue with programming providers.
If true, the architectures of The Venice Project and Google’s YouTube will be different — with The Venice Project incorporating the peer-to-peer approach of Skype and YouTube using its current server-based approach — but the business models will be basically the same.
YouTube obviously has a head start, but we won’t know how compelling the Venice Project will be until it surfaces — or at least until we learn quite a bit more of the details behind the venture.
So, we’ll look ahead to November 16 and 17 in New York, even though — at the time I am writing this post — The Venice Project’s Mr. de Wahl is not listed as a speaker at The Future of Television Forum. I have sent an email message to the event organizer to receive confirmation that he will be speaking there.