Following in the footsteps of Joost, Babelgum and iPlayer, the latest peer-to-peer online TV service on the block opened to public beta testers at the IBC 2007 conference in Amsterdam today (announcement). Developed by Skinkers, the London-based producer better known for building desktop news alert applications for newspaper and broadcast clients like The Guardian and the BBC, LiveStation employs P2P distribution technology bought from Microsoft (Nasdaq:MSFT) researchers in Cambridge last year (as Inquirer previously reported). The application front-end is powered by Microsoft’s new Silverlight, a Flash multimedia competitor.
P2P, because it relies on viewers transmitting programming to each other, is clearly emerging as a delivery method to eliminate broadcasters’ bandwidth costs. LiveStation is so far cryptic on its channel lineup, however – none are yet listed on its website, though it does promise both free, subscriber and pay-per-view options as well as “national networks, not just special interest services” (a dig at Joost and Babelgum?).
Microsoft took a 10 percent stake in Skinkers when it sold the P2P technology. Skinkers also announced it appointed former AOL Europe CEO and chairman Philip Rowley as a non-executive board member. He had previously been CFO and EVP at EMI Music Worldwide and is also a non-executive director of QXL Ricardo (LON:QXL) and ARM Holdings (LON:ARM).