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Deal Radar 2008: Mevio

Posted on Tuesday, Oct 21st 2008

Digital entertainment network Mevio bills itself as users’ personal Internet TV, music and radio network. Originally known as PodShow, the company was founded in 2004 by former MTV VJ Adam Curry and technology and media executive and former songwriter/producer Ron Bloom, to help people download and publish podcasts. In a bid to re-brand itself, the company changed its name to Mevio and launched a new site and “vertical entertainment networks” targeting specific demographics.

The company has always maintained that it intends to become a full-fledged media network and had started the transition in 2007. Mevio began producing and distributing a broad range of episodic video and audio shows. The transition to Web also resulted in Mevio’s attracting a large number of advertisers, including Coca-Cola, Marie Claire, HP, Nokia, Go Daddy, eMusic, Cover Girl, Sony, Kmart, McDonald’s, AMD and Unilever. A January 2008 Compete report named Mevio as the third fastest-growing site on the Internet.

Today, Mevio hosts a number of channels and shows on a variety of topics, from business and fashion to news and comedy. The site caters to the demand for ‘short-form’ content and offers shows that are between two to seven minutes in length. Mevio provides users with direct access to its shows, music and video, and tools for personalizing content into channels. This month the site launched TeXtraTV, a live technology entertainment channel hosted by co-founder Adam Curry.

Users can also share the site’s content with their friends, put it on their blogs/sites or download it to any device including computers, iPods, mobile devices, or televisions. Mevio promises its advertisers a “brand-safe” platform that offers scalability and interaction. The site also promises “vertical networks” to target specific demographics and allow advertisers full advertisement integration including traditional ad inserts, companion programming, page takeovers, network promotions, product placement, host endorsements, and custom production.

Mevio also allows users to create their own podcasts to be distributed through the rest of the site. As of April 2008, the site had co-produced 300 out of the 15,000 shows on its network. Mevio owned exclusive selling and syndication rights for the remaining shows. However, Mashable claims that Mevio pays producers only $4-$5 CPM. (The article goes on to say that this payment can turn out be as “high” as $400 a month. Ahem!) This amount is obviously not enough for a producer to quit his day job. Mashable also notes that the site received a lot of criticism for forcing podcasters to cede their rights and intellectual property to the PodShow network for a few years or even for perpetuity.

Mevio has consistently maintained that it is experiencing strong growth as far as traffic is concerned. However, publicly available traffic statistics do not substantiate this. According to Compete, in September the site attracted 2.3 million unique visitors monthly and 4.5 million visits monthly. However, Mevio, quoting Omniture, when launching TeXtraTV, said that they got 9 million unique visitors last month.

To digress from Mevio for a moment, I see a consistent pattern on a daily basis of the numbers being quoted by companies not reflected in the public traffic stats benchmarks. It tells me, that there is a big, gaping hole in the traffic stats world that needs to be plugged. It is certainly an opportunity for entrepreneurship.

Anyway, the San Francisco–based company is well backed by VCs and has raised $38.9 million so far: an $8.9 million Series A from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Sequoia Capital in 2005; a $15 million Series B from DAG Ventures in 2006; and a $15 million Series C from Crosslink Capital, Kleiner Perkins, Sequoia, Sherpalo Ventures, and DAG Ventures in 2008. Though the company is well funded, it is not yet profitable and hopes to achieve this by the end of the year.

Related Readings:
*Media Industry Worth Watching in 2008
*Top 8 Media Stocks
*More Media Stocks: Viacom, News Corp

This segment is a part in the series : Deal Radar 2008


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