[Monday update to the following story: the Ziddio beta site is live—go to Ziddio.com and refresh the page.]
Nov. 5–Comcast COO Steve Burke said at a Wall Street Journal-sponsored conference earlier this year that Comcast aims to be "the Amazon of video on the Internet." The company is getting closer to that goal with Ziddio, an online and On Demand channel developed by Comcast Interactive Media that not only rhymes with video but aims, YouTube-like, to lure Web video enthusiasts to its lair.
Although Burke’s comment was made at a WSJ event, the newspaper failed to mention Ziddio in its Nov. 4 story (sub. req.) on Comcast’s user generated Web video aspirations. All credit to CableFAX Daily for breaking the news about Ziddio on Aug. 28. Comcast announced Ziddio’s launch on Nov. 3 and then withdrew the press release and gated the site until it’s (presumably) announced this month.
Ziddio’s pitch to YouTubers and others is the opportunity to create, view, rate and share original content across Comcast.net and Comcast on Demand in eight different categories: comedy, animation, games, movies, horror/Sci-Fi, action/drama, music and reality. Why should they bother, given the glut of Web video sites for amateurs? No surprise: Ziddio is dangling prizes by running contests to lure amateur video-makers.
The portal, created in partnership with Los Angeles-based interactive ad agency Genex, boasts four professional TV/movie brands at launch: HBO, Cinemax, the Comcast-owned Style Network and director George Lucas’ Lucasfilm, which is sponsoring a "Join the Jedi Order" contest that awards the best Star Wars-themed video (as determined by Ziddio’s community) an all expense-paid trip to the Kennedy Space Center.
Ziddio is also launching with a "Search for the Messiest Home" contest related to Style Network’s Niecy Nash-hosted Clean House, in which users are invited to submit videos of their filthy abodes homes—and, of course, compete for a makeover on the series. In order to participate in contests, upload videos, rate other users’ videos and get complete access to the site, users must register to become Ziddio members at no cost.
Videos can be created using a camcorder, digital camera, cell phone or webcam—the only stipulation is that there is no copyrighted material. As for content restrictions, the site will feature content guidelines and encourage visitors to use the "contact us" link to report any videos they find offensive. The site’s preferred video formats are MPEG & MOV files but will accept MPG, MP4, WMV, ASF, AVI (including DIVX), 3gp, and 3g2. There is a 100MB per video size limit.
Liz Schimel, SVP of online content development for Comcast, told CableWorld in June that user-generated content was "absolutely on the roadmap" for Comcast. "You’ll see us over the course of the next few months launching some exciting new video products that will be tapping into a lot of the new capabilities on the Web and users’ desire to be authors and creators themselves."