A company funded by Craig McCaw’s Eagle River Holdings is on the move. 1Cast, based in Kirkland, Wash., is unveiling a new version of its Web platform and extending its overall reach with Boxee.
For 1Cast, it’s all about microcasting. Accessible from a Web browser or through apps on the iPhone and Android, 1Cast partners with content providers like Fox, NBC, Bloomberg and others to extend their video reach.
Specifically, 1Cast aggregates video news programming from the broadcasters throughout the day and delivers the content through personalized newscasts or by having users check news of the day online or through an iPhone or Android app. The company also is targeting the living room through its new partnership with Boxee.
President Anthony Bontrager explains the company’s real focus is not so much around content aggregation but personalization, allowing users to get every angle on the content they want to follow and watch it anywhere. Consumers can get exposed to more sources. For example, a faithful viewer of Keith Olbermann on MSNBC is unlikely to be going over to Fox, but if they receive video on a topic of interest whose source is Fox, they might be more likely to check it out.
Naturally, there’s a lot of cross-over between those who watch online and those who watch on mobile, but right now, 1Cast averages 36 minutes per user per session on a mobile device. That’s an extraordinary number, he says, and compares with the 12 or 15 minutes it averages per session on a desktop.
Of course, the iPhone has a huge halo surrounding it, but 1Cast chose Android as its second mobile platform because it’s open source and will be on a much wider array of phones and other devices in the future. Beyond that, it’s a matter of looking at whether a platform can do video in a meaningful way. “We’re very selective on the handsets we’re going after right now,” he says.
Interestingly, while Apple offers thousands more apps than the Android Marketplace, apps providers might find one benefit by being in a camp with fewer competing apps: It’s easier for end-users to find them. 1Cast is seeing about four times more downloads on Android now than on the iPhone.
1Cast is ad-supported and shares a portion of its revenue with content partners. It currently doesn’t see anyone as a direct competitor but runs up against those that are scraping the Web, not properly licensing content or skewing the view of the Fair Use Doctrine, which poses confusion in the marketplace, he says.
1Cast also has a partnership with Clearwire to be the exclusive video provider for its WiMAX devices that launch next year.