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RealTime IT News

A Big Deal with NBCi: iClips Video Messages

Video streaming company iClips has unveiled a deal with NBCi.com that puts the iClips' streaming video tools in front of about 24 million viewers. The alliance also propels iClips' strategy of integrating its streaming video platform into other major Web plays.

Now, when users click on the communication page of NBCi.com (the portal prodigy of the broadcasting company), they are presented with iClips' tools for creating, sending, storing and sharing streaming video messages. Registered users can send the videos via the NBCi network, including the portal's personal homepages, classifieds and clubs sections.

Michael Diamant, iClips's chief executive, said the deal is a big step in the company's goals of making video an easy add to the usual text-only approach to online communications.

"We believe that it is only a matter of time before (more people) add video to web communications, such as auctions or product demos, along with text and pictures," said Diamant. "We are helping them manage the toolset. The infrastructure of delivering Web video exists. We take what's there and enable it for more users."

Under the NBCi deal, users who sign up get 20 megabytes of free storage space, or about an hour of video storage, as well as access to an account management system for the video messaging platform. The company has also guaranteed iClips a percentage of its advertising revenues from the alliance up front, said a person familiar with the deal.

The alliance also helps NBCi build on its commitment to broadband development and offering uses that enhance NBCi members' experience, said Josh Mailman, vice president of product with NBCi. "We look forward to working with iClips to provide our users with the most dynamic communication tools available online."

Nick Fiore, vice president of marketing and business development with iClips, called the deal another milestone in its strategy of partnering with major Web companies.

"It's a great brand to be associated with and a huge vote of confidence for us, not just in the viability of our system from a technology standpoint, but in the viability of our business model," he said of the NBCi deal.

While primarily built on advertising, iClips' revenues also divide into two streams: banner ads that are built into the tools and revenues from using the tools to create streaming videos advertisements. Plus, the company has a premium service in which users can encode videos at a much higher speeds as well as use 100 megabytes of space for a fee of $9.95 a month. Also part of its revenue mix: e-commerce and licensing deals.

The 16 month-old company's business model has one fundamental appeal: user-generated content, said Fiore. This leads to lower fixed-costs compared to in-house production of content, which are bottom line attributes for higher margins and profits on a per-message basis, he added.

And as more consumers discover the joys of a high-speed Internet connection -- even if it means wading through the wait for a digital subscriber line connection -- both companies sense a long-awaited opportunity to find new markets, and advertisers, through enhanced media.

iClips secured a series A financing round of $4.4 million last year and used it to launch all of its products, including a browser-based producer tool that is billed as the only of its kind in the industry.