Mike Homer, of Netscape and now Kontiki, and Marc Andreessen, of Netscape and now Opsware, have launched the Open Media Network, a free platform for the storage and distribution of public video and audio content. I spoke to Homer about the new network, which uses Kontiki’s video serving system on the back end. The system is a mashup of sorts between Tivo and BitTorrent – it has a well considered interface and employes a secure P2P network for file distribution (it doesn’t actually use Tivo or BitTorrent technology). Homer has seeded OMN with public TV content, podcasts, and more, but the service is free for anyone to use, and includes a Force of Many recommendation and filtering system. This is similar to OurMedia.org and Google’s recently launched video project, but this has a slicker implementation (well, so far Google does not have an implementation!).
The system is not yet fully functional, but Homer seems dead serious about making it so. So is this just a publicity play for Kontiki? Perhaps, but it’s an audacious (and expensive) one if so. And OMN is not without a business model, despite its non profit status – Homer plans to incorporate a payment system and keep a small percentage of the revenues to cover operational costs.