If Google is the entryway to the Internet, your first stop to search for stuff on the Web, Andrew Baron wants his new site Magma to be the entrypoint for video. Mr. Baron, the creator of Rocketboom, debuted his new project last night at the Hilton New York hotel on 6th Avenue at the NY Video 2.0 Meetup.
“When Rocketboom started, people were like, what video on the Internet?” Mr. Baron said in front of a crowd of about 400 techies and Web video curious, most of whom were men. Rocketboom is a pioneering daily videoblog founded in October 2004. The host explains news and trends about the Internet’s minutia of the day. With a proliferation of Web shows like Rocketboom and other user-generated content, platforms like YouTube started aggregating them: According to Mr. Baron, “it seemed like YouTube kind of won the space entirely … in terms of where to go and find what was happening.”
On Magma, users can see the top 100 “must watch” videos on the Web. Instead of just displaying the top videos on YouTube, Magma gathers video views from sites including Hulu, Vimeo and others to create a “Magma score.” Users can check out the top-scored videos, and also view the top videos on each platform. Magma also displays the most talked-about and linked videos on Twitter, Facebook and Google blogs. Users can also see the most viewed videos on NYTimes.com, CNN.com, ESPN and many others, all on one site.
Magma will launch in beta for 100 users by the end of the week and go live in two weeks. Standing in front of a giant screen displaying screenshots of the site, Mr. Baron said, “We started with the idea of aggregating everything in one spot and took it way further.”
Magma is also a social networking tool. Users can create their own profiles, bookmark their favorite videos, and others can “follow” their feed to see what they’re viewing. Top videos in the “Magma community” will also be displayed on the front page of the site, along with the top TV shows and movies.
Sita Vasan, director of strategic investments at Intel Capital, who was reviewing the demo on stage, said Magma could be attractive to publishers and advertisers because of its detailed metrics. Mr. Baron said the ad model is just that: “statistics and advertising” and wants companies from online Web show producers to big-time broadcast companies like CBS to advertise their new show or season premieres in premium areas on the site.
She described Magma as “Nielsen with technology” for Web video.
In a blog post on his personal site, Mr. Baron described it more as the old TV Guide. “[W]ay back in the day, when you wanted to watch TV, there was only one place to go and funny enough, it wasn’t TV. It was the TV Guide,” he wrote. “It had its iterations in print, but it was a key selling point for any Sunday newspaper and if you wanted to know what was on TV, you had to have a TV guide.”
“From charts to guides to stats to friends to likes, there is one thing that has not changed: People like to watch the moving images that they like to watch,” he continued.
“All together, everything about Magma is obvious. Its just that the time for Magma wasn’t six months ago and in six months, it will have been too late.”