Butaca Offers Online Rentals7 Apr, 2008 By: Angelique Flores
A new Web Site for bilingual video streams is launching next month.
Butaca will offer feature films, shorts, documentaries and biographies in DVD and high-definition quality on both a pay-per-view and a free, ad-supported basis.
Butaca's panel of experts will select and moderate the content, which includes both English and Spanish programming.
“We don't want it to be out of hand,” CEO Randall Green said of the content. “This is not going to be a YouTube.”
Similar to such sites as Jaman and Joost, Butaca will not only offer feature films, but also be a destination for the Butaca community to discuss Latin cinema from around the world.
“We want to build a passionate community surrounding Latin cinema,” Green said.
The bilingual site will feature forums, bloggers and reviewers, who Green hopes will serve as the connoisseurs and tastemakers for the site.
The PPV content will be $1.95 to $3.95 with a three- to seven-day viewing period. Free, ad-supported content includes full-length movies, trailers, interviews, and behind-the-scenes and making-of footage. Rights holders will determine some of the prices, which will depend on the quality and length of the video.
“We're not sure which of the models [PPV or ad-supported] will be more successful in the end,” Green said. “We think free will win in the end, but we're going to be prepared for both.”
Users can view content on either a PC or a Mac over a broadband connection.
“We are focusing on open connectivity solutions between the PC and television, which could be as simple as an inexpensive cable or media center connections to forging relationships and partnerships with various consumer electronic companies and networking companies so that our interface and films will be easily accessible to the end user,” Green said.
Besides offering a place for viewers to find Latino content, the site could also be attractive to content creators who distribute content on the site. Butaca splits equally with them the revenue generated from both the PPV and ad-supported models. Rights holders also have access to Butaca's back end to monitor their own content.
Butaca is protecting its content from piracy by encrypting it with digital rights management. Files are broken into thousands of six-second segments that are individually encrypted, and the file is never stored in its entirety on a user's hard drive. This prevents illegal copying.
For now Butaca is being funded by Veranda Entertainment, which Green launched four years ago with his partner, Pedro Alonzo. Veranda distributes Spanish-language broadcasting to video distributors.
“Over the years, we've realized that there are few media outlets for the breadth and depth of Latin content,” Green said. “[Butaca] is just a natural progression.”
Eventually, the Web site will be spun out completely on its own.