Business

DEMO: eLive Entertainment turns online videos into a social experience

V3 Systems is one of 53 companies chosen by VentureBeat to launch at the DEMO Spring 2011 event taking place this week in Palm Desert, Calif. After our selection, the companies pay a fee to present. Our coverage of them remains objective.

French startup eLive Entertainment offers us a glimpse at what the future of online video may look like, and not surprisingly, it’s a lot more social.

The site, which is being shown off at today’s DEMO conference, turns watching online videos into a social experience with your friends. You can record audio commentary over a video and invite friends to chime in with their own commentary as well.

The site handles the tough job of keeping your conversation synchronized with the video, allowing you to easily create and share group commentary for videos from sites like YouTube, Justin.TV and Ustream.

The potential uses for a service like eLive are widespread: you could use it to create a group commentary on a sports play, or as a way to test your karaoke skills. Its ease of use is a big selling point, as it’s much more difficult to synchronize videos with voice chat over services like Skype.

Founder and chief executive Zhong Liu “MK” Fan says he would like to work together with online video services to get access to features they don’t normally make available, like timestamps. The company is trying to avoid building a streaming video platform of its own. Instead, it’s using the platforms created by YouTube, Ustream and others. That’s likely a wise move, as building a propriety streaming video platform would be an expensive endeavor, and it also makes more sense to offer something that works across more established video sites.

Fan points to NicoNico, a popular Japanese video sharing site that’s famous for its ability to let users add their own subtitles to videos, as an example of how a service like eLive could take off. NicoNico has found success by focusing on a geeky niche community in Japan, whereas eLive has broader ambitions. Currently there aren’t any other sites that offer similar features.

elive Entertainment was founded in February 2009, and it currently has four employees (Fan, plus CTO Pierre-Emile “Mat“ Ferron, a web developer and a web designer). It’s currently self-funded.

V3 Systems is one of 53 companies chosen by VentureBeat to launch at the DEMO Spring 2011 event taking place this week in Palm Desert, Calif. After our selection, the companies pay a fee to present. Our coverage of them remains objective.

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