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ManiaTV Celebrates One-Year Anniversary

There have been many streaming milestones in recent months, from the overwhelming success of the Live8 Webcasts to the continuing increase in made-for-TV content being released online. Yet, what’s really proving how far streaming has come is the introduction of companies built to produce content specifically for dissemination via streaming. Riding the waves of praise generated over the summer, Live8 producer Kevin Wall founded Network Live just a few short months ago. But he wasn’t the first to recognize the opportunity that a streaming-only production company could claim.

One year ago this month, Drew Massey realized his long-held vision of creating the world’s first live and interactive streaming-only "Internet television network" and dubbed it ManiaTV. Today, Massey and his team are celebrating their recently successful second round of financing, which netted them $12 million. ManiaTV is currently streaming live 24/7, and is projecting revenue of $7 million over the next 12 months.

Whether or not they’re going to be the next big thing in video distribution, a la MTV 20 years ago, has yet to be seen, but what’s undeniable is that their efforts deserve a closer look in terms of where they’ve come from, how they do what they do, and what their goals are for the future as they position themselves at the leading edge of the emerging streaming market.

Looking Back
Massey’s vision for ManiaTV started all the way back in the heyday of the Dot Com boom, although he held back on pursuing this venture until the time was right. "The epiphany came in 1998. I went out and met with the guys who started Excite.com and said, ‘The Internet is the biggest thing that’s happened in my lifetime.’ I began to wonder how it and TV were going to marry. In November ’98, I trademarked the ManiaTV name," he says. "I kept an eye on everyone in the space, but I knew it was too early, because back then everyone was talking about streaming to the office."

Massey set out a roadmap for himself that mirrored that of an earlier traditional TV trailblazer. "I decided to wait until broadband penetration hit critical mass--20 million homes, in my eyes--which is where cable was when MTV launched," he says.

Three and a half years ago Massey started putting together an advisory board, and then on Labor Day 2004, ManiaTV went live. "This is only the beginning," Massey says. "There’s going to be an avalanche of video content happening on the Internet. Our mission is to lead this revolution in television, which is Internet-based TV," he says.

Maturing Technology
Beyond reaching critical mass for broadband penetration, the maturation of the technology that enables streaming media has been just as critical in Massey’s decision of when to move forward with his vision for ManiaTV. "We’re now at Windows Media 10; back when I first had the idea for ManiaTV it was Windows Media 2 or 3," he says.

Part of the technology’s maturation, he says, is the emergence of products like the NewTek VT[4] Integrated Production Suite, which "allows us to do what we do. We rely heavily on their technology, as we’re hosted live around the clock," Massey explains..

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