Broadband video services are rapidly reaching significant audiences. More than a million people a week are downloading the Move media player to watch online video from American television networks. Meanwhile Veoh Networks is also gaining momentum, reaching over 12 million viewers, and Joost and Babelgum are building profile before they officially launch.

Millions of users are streaming and downloading video online, from both mainstream networks and emerging players, as viewing moves from short video clips to entire programmes, from tiny windows to high-definition. The impact on broadband networks of these so-called ‘over the top’ services could be considerable.

Move Networks
Move Networks, the company that delivers video for among other others, streamed more than 3 petabytes of video in May. That’s 3,000,000GB of data. The surge in online viewing was driven by the season finales of several popular series.

“Through the increased popularity of online video and the inclusion of the Move Networks solution on several top media websites, more than a million new unique video consumers are installing Move Media Player on a weekly basis,” said Jim Ericson of Move Networks. “All publishers benefit from the increasing number of installations, since the plugin works on any site with a video experience powered by Move Networks.”

Veoh Networks
Meanwhile, Veoh Networks, another broadband video company, attracted more than 12 million unique users in May, nearly 20% more than the previous month. “We’re building some serious momentum, and internet television in general is gaining some real traction,” a Veoh representative told informitv.

The increasing audience is attracting more programming providers. Veoh has gained more than 70,000 video publishers, from independent producers to major media brands. As well as appearing on the Veoh web site, videos are automatically syndicated to YouTube, Google Video, and MySpace Video, allowing publishers to reach the largest audience in the world.

“These numbers reflect a surge in the power and reach of internet video and the value that users place on the breadth of high quality, interesting content available on Veoh,” said its founder and chief executive Dmitry Shapiro. “But we have only just begun,” he added. “In the coming month, Veoh will unveil the first in a series of next generation products that will significantly impact the entire internet television landscape.”

Veoh has raised another $26 million from Goldman Sachs and original backers Spark Capital and Shelter Capital Partners, bringing its total funding to over $40 million, with more apparently to come.

Veoh allows users to download high-quality, full-screen, long-form videos over a peer-to-peer network. A new home delivery feature allows programmes to be selected from anywhere with an internet connection and selected for download to the Veoh Player for later viewing, acting as a form of virtual internet video digital video recorder.

Joost, which has been attracting mainstream media coverage, is now looking for hardware companies to embed its software in their devices. Newly appointed chief executive, Mike Volpi, previously with Cisco, has pointed out that Joost software can potentially run on a variety of platforms, from set-top boxes to televisions with internet connections.

David Clark, executive vice president of global advertising for Joost, told TV Week that within a year “you will see Joost in the living room”. He went on to suggest that the vast majority of consumers will eventually use Joost as their primary entertainment platform.

Rival service Babelgum has been signing deals with programming partners, including news providers Reuters and ITN, together with a number of independent producers, covering both established filmmakers and new talent.

Silvio Scaglia, Babelgum’s chairman and co-founder said his company is creating an entirely new environment. “Rather than the ‘one size fits all’ philosophy of traditional broadcasting, we aim to provide exactly what viewers want, when and where they want it.”

He said that Babelgum aims to build up a library of up to 100,000 hours of hours of independent and mainstream content from around the world. “It is this variety of individually delivered professional content, coupled with the inherent interactivity of the internet, that creates an entirely new user experience. On Babelgum, niche audiences will have immediate access to the content that works for them.”