January 29th, 2009

SplashCast pulls plug on free user-generated channels


splashcast.jpgPortland-based SplashCast—which has gone through any number of interesting permutations as they worked to find a revenue model for their technology—has just announced that they will no longer be supporting free user-generated channels. The decision had to be a tough one, given that it was this community groundswell that brought the service to the attention of its current customer base: media companies and advertisers.

Over the past several months, we’ve been less and less focused on our “free” product, that is, the user generated channels. While we have well over 100,000 publishers, we simply haven’t been dedicating attention and resources to this part of the business.

All successful startup companies must focus. SplashCast is no different. Therefore, we have decided to discontinue our user generated content product as of February 11. We want to give our loyal (and brilliantly creative) users a chance to find other services that meet their needs.

While I’m sad to see this free service disappear—especially when it comes to rounding up Ignite Portland presentations—I can appreciate where SplashCast is trying to go. And while it would have been great to see them offer a pay version of the user-generated content service, there were likely some legal ramifications of SplashCast making money off of people repurposing other people’s intellectual property.

Suffice it to say, while this is a painful announcement for those early users and supporters of the service, this has been—obviously—a long time coming. Better to see SplashCast gnaw off a proverbial leg to escape the trap, then go down with the ship. To completely mix metaphors.

Things are tough all over. SplashCast isn’t alone in reducing its free offerings to the benefit of the business. A couple of little companies of which you may have heard, Google and Yahoo!, are among the thousands of companies that have been going through similar slimmings to deal with the current economy, as well.

Finding focus is terribly difficult for any company—especially when it comes at the expense of faithful users. But it would be nice to see SplashCast sticking around. And if they have to forego their free services to do it? So be it.

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3 Responses to “SplashCast pulls plug on free user-generated channels”

  1. Mike Berkley says:

    Hey Rick,

    Thanks for being a great supporter and always giving us the benefit of doubt.

    It has now been about 18 months since our focus shifted from UGC to premium content, so this decision has been a long time coming as you point out.

    The user base of our premium video applications is about 100 times larger than our UGC user base. We now have several of the largest brand advertisers lining up to sponsor our primetime TV and music apps. This is a huge opportunity and where we need to focus our limited time and resources.

    It is extremely hard to shutter a product offering, especially one that is both popular and unique. This decision was not taken lightly.

    Thanks,
    Mike

  2. Mike Berkley says:

    In response to strong feedback from the user community, SplashCast is offering an extension of the free account to any users who request it. See details here:

    http://blog.splashcastmedia.com/2009/02/05/free-account-extension

    Best,
    Mike


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