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.
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