Online video service launched


OYSTER CAPITAL, the investment vehicle of e-learning entrepreneur Bill McCabe, has emerged as one of the main backers of a new Irish online video service which has raised over €6 million in funding.

Formally launched yesterday, Muzu TV has developed a video platform for the music industry which enables copyright owners to securely display videos on Muzu TV and other websites such as MySpace.

The company has signed a deal with Sony BMG for Ireland and Britain to make videos by the major record labels artists available on the site.

Over 6,000 videos have been added from artists such as The Ting Tings, Foo Fighters, Kylie Minogue and Beyonce.

Co-founder and business development director of Muzu, Ciarán Bollard said the company is in "ongoing talks" with the other major labels.

Deals are already in place with labels and content producers including Ministry of Sound, Cherry Red Records, Eagle Rock, Planet Rock Profiles, Hollywood Music and Ninja Tune, who have provided over 2,000 hours of video.

A deal has also been brokered with British broadcaster ITN to make classic music programmes such as The Tube available online legally for the first time.

The service is now available to web users in Ireland and the UK. Mr Bollard said it would expand to other markets in Europe later this year and to the US and the rest of the world in early 2009.

The site will make money through advertising which will be embedded at the bottom of videos. Brands such as Sony, Pioneer, Heineken, O2, Converse and Ray Ban have already signed up.

Muzu is also pioneering "interactive product placement" whereby people can click on products in music videos to buy them immediately online.

Mr Bollard said Muzu has a straight 50/50 split with copyright owners for all advertising revenues generated from their content.

The company has 25 staff at offices in Dublin, Waterford and London.

Muzu has also received backing from Enterprise Ireland and unnamed private investors.

Mr Bollard has 12 years' experience in technology sales and marketing, including a stint at Smartforce, the e-learning company which Mr McCabe founded.