Sportsbiztech

Sports, business & technology

ICast, YouCast, we all scream on YouCastr

youcastr.gifA couple of sports fan friends and I have joked over the years that we would be horrible commentators. Instead of delivering politically-correct, insightful commentary, we would likely be Bobby Knight clones yelling expletives at various athletes on the screen.

There are times, though, that I wish that commentary didn’t lack so much color, and that play-callers would just tell it like it is. YouCastr (www.youcastr.com), a Web site that publicly launched on Tuesday, allows fans to do just that.

“The idea was first hatched about a year ago,” said YouCastr co-founder and CEO Ariel Diaz in an interview with Sportsbiztech. “We felt [that] we could help provide a more entertaining and personal experience for consuming content. We ended up focusing on sports because it is a large target market.”

A first glance reveals that this is not your ordinary video site. YouCastr allows fans to deliver live broadcasts on an impressive array of sports from the NFL to baseball to the WNBA to the Rugby World Cup to high school soccer. (No option for Ebbsfleet United…yet. There is even a “Non-Sport” category for movies, music and television, although this space hasn’t been fleshed out at the moment.)

“Our main advantage is a well-defined target market and user base,” Diaz said of YouCastr versus other video sites. “We are focused on sports, which means all the content creators and consumers are focused on the same area. It’s very difficult to stand out from the crowd on some of the larger sites like YouTube, where there is a much wider range of content.”

All an aspiring broadcaster needs is a USB microphone. He or she chooses which events to broadcast, states a language preference and a “team bias,” then waits for registered users to request his or her event. The homepage, in turn, is regularly updated with upcoming broadcasts and archives, as well as popularity rankings of broadcasters.

On Sunday I listened to part of GedMan’s live commentary of a Twins-Red Sox spring training game, during which Mr. T beat boxing, guitar music and odes to ‘80s teen singer Tiffany were sprinkled throughout. Earlier in the week, I tuned into an episode of The Mike Felger Show on ESPN Radio out of Boston.

“We are generating revenue through four main areas: display ads, audio / video ads, premium subscriptions, and professional distribution packages,” Diaz said, addressing the mix of live broadcasts by registered users and professionals like Felger. “Premium subscriptions will be offered for certain content packages or features, which we have not rolled out yet. The professional distribution package creates a robust offering for professional content creators such as radio stations to broadcast their content and join a growing community.”

The audio streams for the broadcasts that I listened to were clear and had very few hiccups on wi-fi. The pop-up windows indicated which members were also listening in, and included a chatroom for users to provide feedback and possibilities for simultaneous online polls. This interface makes the sports-viewing experience far more interactive. In addition, if you don’t like what you’re hearing on TV, you can press the “mute” button on your remote control and just have YouCastr be your soundtrack instead.

YouCastr has a partnership with the Connecticut School of Broadcasting (CSB), and Diaz’s hope is that the site will become a training ground for future professional commentators. “YouCastr provides an ideal community for CSB students and alumni to continue practicing the skills they learned during the broadcasting program,” he said. “It also creates an opportunity for CSB to stay in touch with alumni, and for the alumni to strengthen their network as they move forward in their careers as aspiring broadcasters. In addition, our community of amateur broadcasters is an ideal candidate for CSB’s programs, and they can reach those potential students directly through our site.”

“We would love for YouCastr to become a breeding ground for the next wave of professional commentators, much the same way blogging has created a platform for many aspiring journalists,” Diaz said.

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March 2, 2008 - Posted by | journalism, Web sites

2 Comments »

  1. so with this fledgling website you can see if you sink or swim as a broadcaster… now what happens if no one requests your event?

    Comment by pc | March 4, 2008 | Reply

  2. […] So much for avoiding the law in this post. YOU, then, have two options: Move to Europe, or just become a March Madness commentator on YouCastr. […]

    Pingback by More Facebook Fun: Pete Carroll’s triumphant return, NCAA brackets and you « Sportsbiztech | March 19, 2008 | Reply


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