Babelgum, the upstart Internet TV network that looks and works much like Joost, has appointed Valerio Zingarelli as the CEO. Zingarelli takes over from co-founder Erik Lumer who will now focus on strategic product development. Prior to Babelgum, Zingarelli was an independent Boardmember of Fastweb, the second largest Wireline Telecommunication Company in Italy. Before that, Zingarelli was formerly Vodafone’s Global Director of Networks and Service Platforms, which he joined from Omnitel. Prior to that he worked for Alenia and for Cselt, both in Italy.
The most interesting part is that Babelgum is looking more and more like a Europe-focused company. Babelgum is founded by Italian entrepreneur Silvio Scaglia. Now, the CEO is someone with strong experience in Italy (but not much global experience). Nothing wrong with that, but a more global outlook would’ve been better.
Looks like Babelgum is placing its bets in Europe, rather than in the U.S., the biggest market for Internet TV (or is it?). With the level of competition in the U.S. Babelgum would have a better standing Europe. Contrast that with Joost, another European company, that is focusing on American consumers and American media, as judged by the media distribution agreements with U.S. media companies.
Speaking of Media, Babelgum’s recent content partnerships with 3DD, Associated Press, BBC MotionGallery, Big Picture Limited, Black Diamond, Breakthru Films, Entertainment Rights, Fight Network, Filmchest, Gong Anime, IMG, Fashion, Gamer TV, Golf, Indivisual, Intervision, ITN, Journeyman Films, Quattro Media, Reuters, Spike Lee, aren’t anything to write home about – more evidence that Babelgum is focusing on the indie-like niche.
This is disappointing as I was looking forward to Babelgum and Joost blazing a trail to bring Internet TV to the television via the set-top box.
Nonetheless, I like what I hear about Babelgum’s strategy. By the end of the year, Babelgum plans to grow to 100 employees. In the next year Babelgum will concentrate on the three sequential priorities of building quality content through direct acquisition of content and automatic self-uploads by independent content owners, marketing Babelgum to English speaking viewers around the globe, and addressing the advertising market. I think Babelgum has the right strategy – to focus on a niche. Why compete with traditional TV providers, and Internet TV providers like Joost, Veoh, and YouTube/Apple TV when you can carve out a profitable niche in long-form long-tail media!