Babelgum Plans China Launch, Amends Online Film Festival Rules

Babelgum, the Ireland-based, Italian-backed Joost rival, aims to open in the Chinese market early in 2008. BusinessWeek reports the online TV outfit, which also has offices in London and Nice, “is looking east, with plans to add Chinese-language original content in the first quarter of next year”. Babelgum opened to beta users back in June and hopes to launch fully next March so any Chinese launch would seem set to come around that time.

Meanwhile, Babelgum has changed details of an online film festival it announced over the weekend. The competition, with a judging panel led by film maker Spike Lee, is open to all films professionally produced between January 2007 and February 2008 (and not just those screened at previous festivals), while Babelgum will get non-exclusive rights to use all the accepted films for one year from next March. In a press release put out at the Venice Film Festival over the weekend, Babelgum said it would get exclusive rights. On its blog, the company said it was correcting that release and is “developing” terms and conditions, which will be released once again on September 15; it added film makers will get a share of advertising revenue. Either way, it will mean more content for the fledgling online video outfit to distribute.