FRANKFURT/AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – The founders of file-swapping service KaZaA and Internet calling program Skype plan to launch advertising-supported Internet television shortly, Skype co-founder Janus Friis told a Danish newspaper.
The project, code-named Venice, will bring quality TV programmes for free to consumers who have a broadband Internet connection, he told Boersen financial newspaper.
“We will simply present it to the public when we feel that it works well enough and there is enough content. And it will not be much longer before it is out. It is a question of a month or two,” Friis was quoted as saying when he attended Boersen’s Executive Club on Wednesday night in Copenhagen.
“This is a system where people with professional content can put it out (on the Internet). And that can be anybody,” said Friis, who currently has “a lot of people” negotiating with TV production companies around the world.
“We don’t want any more lawsuits,” Friis said, referring to the days when he was running KaZaA, which was used by people to freely share copyrighted songs.
The success of the new venture depends on perfect timing, but Internet users appear to be ready for video services given the popularity of YouTube as well as delayed viewing of news bulletins and other public TV programmes in many countries.
YouTube, which shows mainly short clips, was bought by Google for $1.65 billion in Google stock earlier this month.
Internet calling and messaging service Skype, which Friis set up with his partner Niklas Zennstrom, was sold to eBay for up to $4.1 billion last year.
“The timing has to be right. Otherwise it will not work. We have been lucky with KazaA and Skype, where it was absolutely right. Now we hope that will also be the case with our next project,” Friis was quoted as saying.