Online portal Lycos has launched a new site that lets users watch video content and chat with other users at the same time.
Initially available as a beta test, Lycos Cinema uses a patent-pending video platform which allows users to view and chat in real-time.
The site lets users host their own Screening Rooms, inviting others to watch high-quality video content, while the host of the room controls the video experience.
Screening Room hosts can pause, rewind and fast-forward video streams, and most importantly, chat with other Screening Room viewers. Users can view profiles of other guests in the Screening Room audience and build buddy lists for future watch and chat sessions. Users may also congregate in ‘virtual lobbies’, browsing lists of available screenings, conversing with other users with whom they can watch and chat. Screening Room hosts can password-protect screenings, making watch and chat sessions available by invitation only.
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 wrapped in Microsoft's DRM technology provided by Microsoft's Windows Media Rights Manager, to protect artists’ rights.
Brian Kalinowski, chief operating officer of LYCOS, said: “Viewing video online becomes much more engaging and enjoyable when you can create a social experience involving friends and family."