Once solely a video distributor, Dave Networks saw revenues grow five times over the past year after its segue into the social networking scene, revamping 20 Web sites for TV shows such as "Price Is Right."
Now it's moving into Internet TV.
Called Next.tv, the online platform brings together more than 100 channels of content from media companies such as CBS, Hearst Corp. and Home Shopping Network. It's now in a test stage, and will be viewable next month. By then, company executives said that the site will contain more licensed content.
Web TV is an emerging hot market, led by companies such as Westwood-based Veoh Networks Inc. Veoh is backed by Goldman Sachs and Tornante Co., former Walt Disney Co. Chief Executive Michael Eisner's media investment company. Recently, competitor site Hulu, a much anticipated joint venture by NBC and Fox, also launched.
Both Veoh and Hulu get high-resolution video-streaming by using what's known as peer-to-peer technology.
Rex Wong, chief executive of Dave Networks, said Next.tv runs on a similar proprietary streaming technology that allows clearer viewing. "It's a much nicer viewing experience without the stop and stutter you get on most video sites."
Next.tv will offer subscription service for ad-free content, but some of the TV shows and movies will be viewable for free with ads. Most of the 6,000 movies available on the site will range in cost from $1.99 to view and $9.99 to buy.
Users will also be able to set up their own page, called My TV Station, by compiling their favorite channels. Advertising revenues culled from those pages would be shared with the users, Wong said.
Based in Marina del Rey, Dave Network employs 30 people and saw more than $10 million in revenues last year. The company's primary source of revenue comes from managing 20 sites for TV shows with content from ABC, CBS, MGM and Oxygen.
Wong founded the company three years ago after selling his previous Santa Monica company, Applied Semantics, to Google in 2003.
Jacked Inc.'s "Webtop" enables users to receive free, customized real-time information on their computer screens synchronized with programming on TV, with the goal of making the viewing experience more interactive.
NBC Sports was the first to try out the startup's new technology for the Notre Dame football season last year. This month, the Santa Monica company locked in a multiyear contract with channels KCBS (Channel 2) and KCAL (Channel 9), both owned by CBS Corp.
This means that when KCAL is showing Lakers games, the station's Web site will display widgets or online tools created by Jacked.
For example, the moment Kobe Bryant dunks, the site might show the latest news about Bryant or an option to buy paraphernalia online. Certain online advertisements will be synchronized real-time with ads on TV. A Honda Accord commercial, for instance, might be running on television while a link on the computer screen takes the user to a special online information on the car.
Called "Carl's Jr. Lakers Live SportsTop," the interactive viewing experience for Lakers games will take place for the rest of this season and the next one.
Jacked founder Bryan Biniak said the new contract and the decision by Carl's Jr. to sponsor the deal speak to the growth of the "two-screen" experience in people's living rooms. One study noted that 11 percent of 97 million people who watched the Super Bowl viewed the game on TV while seeking supplementary information on the Web.
Jacked started in 2006 and has 17 employees here and 16 additional developers in India. The business has raised $6.5 million in venture funding.
Xirrus, a Wi-Fi provider, has raised its largest amount of funding to date: $26 million.
The third round of financing, lead by Canaan Partners, brings total equity investment in the company to about $30 million.
The Westlake Village company started in 2006 and provides Wi-Fi connections to school districts, transit agencies and resorts across the country.
Xirrus said its wireless arrays enable the company to deliver a wider range of coverage and more bandwidth than other options out on the market.
News & Notes
Greg Coleman, former Yahoo executive, is the new chief executive of NetSeer Inc., an L.A.-based search advertising startup. Coleman was previously executive vice president of global sales at Yahoo, where he worked for seven years. Before that, Coleman was president of Reader's Digest. NetSeer, founded in 2006, uses proprietary algorithm-based ad targeting models for its advertising campaigns. The company is backed by Mission Ventures and Onset Ventures. Spot Runner, a tech startup with $82 million in venture funding, went through an executive shuffle last week. John Gentry, formerly the L.A. company's chief revenue officer, has been promoted to president. Samuel Paisley joined Spot Runner as chief financial officer from ValueClick, where he was chief administrative officer, chief financial officer and chief operating officer over the past eight years. Spot Runner, which started in 2006, develops a Web-based method of buying preproduced television advertising. It targets medium-size to small businesses looking to buy local television ads.
Staff reporter Booyeon Lee can be reached at email@example.com , or at (323) 549-5225, ext. 230
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