Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Veoh's Dmitry Shapiro Speaks!

Recently, while I was at a conference in Los Angeles, I caught up with Veoh Founder Dmitry Shapiro.

BoomTown will be focusing a lot on online video this year and Veoh is one of the several online video-sharing sites–a group of smaller players that includes sites like Joost, Hulu, Dailymotion, Vimeo and others that I like to call not-YouTube.

But there are pluses to not being the Google-owned (GOOG) video behemoth, in that major entertainment companies who want to figure out how to put their content online aren’t wondering all day long whether to hug or sue you (or both if you are Sumner Redstone).

Today, for example, the Los Angeles-based Veoh announced that the ABC (DIS) television network would put full episodes of its hot prime-time shows–such as “Ugly Betty” (love it) and “Desperate Housewives” (not so much)–up on the site on a non-exclusive basis.

While Veoh has a lot of short, user-generated material, it has also made a push to get more professional material from big media companies like CBS (CBS)–which wins kudos for being the most promiscuous of networks–on its service.

Interestingly in this deal, media connections seem at play here: Disney-owned ABC is giving over content to Veoh, which has former Disney poobah Michael Eisner as one of its principal investors.

The traffic-type deal is typical–Veoh gets paid to send audience to ABC’s site or gets it to use ABC’s really nice player, and ABC tries to monetize it. Veoh currently says it has 28 million unique monthly visitors.

Of course, Veoh is also trying to figure out that nettlesome monetization issue that all online video sites face, which centers on building audience with the attractive big media content and then getting them to watch other ad-supported fare on its site.

But, as with all video sites, it is still in the early stages and, thus, Veoh got another tidy pile of new funding just two weeks ago to help it muddle through.

That would be $30 million more to add to the kitty of about $40 million previously raised.

Along with existing investors–Shelter Capital Partners, Spark Capital, Goldman Sachs (GS), Eisner’s Tornante Company, Tom Freston’s Firefly3, Time Warner (TWX) Investments and Jonathan Dolgen–Veoh’s latest round included Intel Capital, Adobe Systems (ADBE) and also media and tech investor Gordon Crawford.

I talked to Shapiro, who now serves as Veoh’s chief innovation officer, about the money and more here:


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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus