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What's In a Name? Mogulus Becomes Livestream

For two years now, Mogulus has been one of the most compelling offerings in the online video platform space, and the company has built up an impressive user roster, from newspapers including USA Today to C-Span and Air America. It's also managed to garner a decent amount of investment, including USA Today owner Gannett, who ponied up $10 million in 2008. But it still had one problem: that name, which was a play on the notion that everyone ("us") could become a media mogul. Well-intentioned, but hard to pronounce.

Problem solved—the company has changed its name effective today to Livestream (big props for not choosing a name that began with a "V" and not capitalizing that "S"). Beyond wanting a name that was easier to pronounce and remember, the company also wanted to more clearly convey its value proposition, says co-founder and CEO Max Haot.

"The TV stations and newspapers who used us understood what we do, but the biggest growth opportunity we're seeing now is among event organizers, whether those events are sports, educational, or religious," Haot says. "Many of the people in those organizations' extended communities aren't able to attend events, but maybe 90% or more of those organizations don't even know that they can go live and broadcast with their existing hardware to those communities."

The company has always offered three basic modes of broadcasting: live, on-demand, and in a 24/7 linear fashion that mimics a traditional TV channel. Haot says that about half of Livestream's users use the service mostly for live events, while the other half is split between 24/7 and on-demand, but that most users do some mix of both live and pre-recorded.

The company offers both a free, branded, ad-supported service with a 500Kbps stream and a white-label Pro service, which includes a widescreen HD option and analytics. Livestream says more than 1,000 people currently use the $350/month Pro service. In December 2008, it also introduced Procaster, a downloadable application that adds screen capture, real-time chat, 3D game broadcasting, and support for multiple video inputs.

With the name change, Livestream is also introducing Livestream Broadcaster, a web-based app that Haot says will enable one-click live webcasting. "Our goal is not to dumb down our offering," he says, "and we're not losing our focus on high-end graphics and multiple cameras, but we want to let new customers grow into it."

One of the sweet spots Livestream has already found is with customers like Gannett and Fox News who have both the production and the backend capabilities to do their own webcasting, but who use Livestream to let editors and on-air talent run the show themselves. Haot points to WNYW's Good Day New York as an example, on which the same talent and guests who are on the Fox affiliate's morning TV show are on a one-hour online only "aftershow," with the talent running the live webcast without help from producers.

Livestream also recently announced a partnership with LiveU, enabling live mobile broadcasting, and integration with Adap.tv's OneSource platform for its Pro users.

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