Widgets and affiliates be damned — MeDeploy is moving ahead with a service that lets any Web site host its own movie download and rental shop.
The company, formerly based in New Haven, Conn., has moved to Los Angeles, where it’s trying to convince movie studios to lend their content to the service. Conversations are underway with Disney and Paramount, said MeDeploy CEO Christian Taylor.
Meanwhile, the company is seeking $1.5 million in angel or venture capital, which Taylor said will help “make the world know we exist.” Having spent most of $150,000 in friends and family investments, the technology itself is complete, Taylor said. He and two other employees are working without pay.
MeDeploy’s Application Programming Interface lets any Web site host a movie download store on its own Web site, while the company provides the code and the backbone. Big movie-related sites such as Movies.com will be targeted along with blogs, social networks and smaller Web sites with niche audiences.
The service is free, and the Web site keeps at least 10 percent of the sales revenue. The content owner takes a cut, and MeDeploy keeps the rest.
MeDeploy’s beta service, which launched in the fall, differed from the finished product. To test the service, MeDeploy solicited independent developers who could host their own movies, and it charged them a monthly fee. Larger studios aren’t interested in selling their own movies directly, Taylor said, so the business model is changing to emphasize sales through third-party Web sites.
Provided that MeDeploy can get enough studios to sign on — Taylor hopes to convince at least three of the majors, but would launch with less — the service’s success hinges on a couple of factors:
First, Web sites have to believe there’s an advantage to hosting their own store instead of linking through to a more established retailer. Taylor doesn’t expect MeDeploy to replace Amazon outright, but he believes the proposition of handling everything on site instead of sending users through an external link will entice Web sites.
Then, customers have to trust the sites’ interface over existing presences. Taylor hopes the convenience of doing everything on site will sway customers. To compete with how Amazon can store information for returning customers, MeDeploy can link its customer database with Facebook, Twitter, Google and MySpace logins. That could open the door to cloud storage down the line, Taylor said.
Taylor avoided giving a timeline for the MeDeploy’s launch. That, he said, depends on how quickly the company can raise money.