Tuesday, January 8, 2008


First he became a top rap artist. Then he turned his talents to the movies as an actor. Now Ice Cube has a new line to add to his résumé: Internet entrepreneur. Cube and his partner DJ Pooh, a record producer and screenwriter who also is a self-described techie, are the latest entertainers to launch a new website showcasing all sorts of videos, original to music to user-generated. But Cube and Pooh aren't just looking to promote their own work. They have loftier ambitions: to create a TV-style network with multiple channels and high-quality video that can support everything from short videos to full-length movies.

UVNTV (short for U View Network Television, at uvntv.com), still in rollout mode, now features about a dozen channels, run both by large companies and individual artists. Each channel will be screened for quality but will run its own programming. For example, Snoop Dogg's Snoopadelic channel features his rap videos; Nextreme TV shows clips of extreme sports such as snowboarding jumps. The official stations of urban magazines The Source and Vibe are included as well. Cube says, "We figured we needed to think about how could we still be part of entertainment in this future that's coming out at full speed."


All videos are shown in a new Microsoft-developed format called Silverlight that promises definition high enough to be played on big screens. Shows can be viewed by time or on demand. And, like most websites launching these days, UVNTV includes community-building features along the lines of MySpace.

Eventually, the founders hope thousands of individuals, studios and corporations will bring their material to UVNTV, drawn by artistic freedom and the opportunity to bring their material to a new audience — and make money in the process. They're inviting everyone from fledgling filmmakers and performers to established stars, networks and companies. Channel partners will share advertising revenue with UVNTV or sell their own ads on their own channels. "We figured we needed to think about how could we still be part of entertainment in this future that's coming out at full speed," says Cube. "We didn't just want to be providers of a product. We wanted to be a full-blown network. I think we're going to have programming that's way more interesting than what you can see on your daily television or even YouTube."

Cube says they're not competing with YouTube or other existing networks, but adding a needed new player to the mix. "Yeah, (artists) can throw (content) up and hope that it gets seen on a YouTube or whatever. But here you can present it the way you want it. And if you get enough people to come and watch, you become a major player in entertainment."


Bryon said...

Very helpful piece of writing, much thanks for this article.
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Reynold said...

Well, I do not actually believe it is likely to have success.
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