Today LYCOS Inc. has released a social network revolving around chat and broadband movie content. It is called LYCOS Cinema and is the first social network to combine real-time chat and video technologies.
According to Yahoo! Finance, “Digital rights owners, artists and content managers can release content to a VIP or general audience with direct interaction, providing screening and sampling opportunities, marketing and promotion and innovative opportunities for new revenue streams. Content is securely wrapped in Microsoft’s DRM technology provided by Microsoft’s Windows Media Rights Manager, to protect artists’ rights.”
LYCOS Cinema users may create “Screening Rooms” and invite other users to join them in watching the movie. The host user of the Screening Room has the power to pause, rewind, and fast-forward the movies. Profiles of other users can be viewed as well through the screening rooms.
Upcoming features will include the ability to rate and review the various movies. LYCOS Cinema will give indepedent directors and producers the opportunity to interact with movie-goers directly through the chat as well.
“Our goal is to give users a totally unique viewing experience of high- quality video content they cannot find anywhere else,” stated Brian Kalinowski, the COO of LYCOS Inc. “Viewing video online becomes much more engaging and enjoyable when you can create a social experience involving friends and family. With LYCOS Cinema, we move from the flat, disconnected world of Web 1.0 to an all new world of social interaction around online video, essentially the next evolution of chat.”
Here is the sample UI that appears when you click on “Create a Screening” for a given movie:
You will notice that Showtimes can be created for Now or Later, set a maximum audience size of 10, make screening private, and invite friends through e-mail or online invitations. Making a screening private enables you to password-protect the screening.
Here is an internal screenshot of an actual movie playing:
There is a chat room in the bottom left, a Cinema Audience listing next to it, and displays the Cinema host options. The Cinema host can change the videos at any time as well. In case a host pauses the movie for way too long, other members of the audience can always switch to another video host.
I definetely applaud the initiative that LYCOS has made in designing this social network. It is definetely a unique concept and makes a great addition to other LYCOS network websites such as Angelfire, Tripod, and HotBot. I’m sure there will be more press about this soon as it is an innovative concept.