Social online video viewing is compelling, if only Lycos Cinema had better content

lycos cinemaJust out of curiosity, when was the last time you wanted to get together with friends to watch such movies as “Convoy,” “Captain Kid,” “Day of the Triffids,” “Ultrachrist!” or “Monster from a Prehistoric Planet?”

Lycos, the Web portal from the Palaeozoic Era of the Internet, has given movie lovers the chance to simultaneously watch films like these since the launch of Lycos Cinema more than a year ago.

Today Lycos relaunched the Cinema product with added features: You can now purchase video-on-demand streams for you and your buddies to watch simultaneously on different computers, and interact socially through an improved user interface.

Lycos accomplishes simultaneous viewing through its patented “SimulStream” technology, which brings friends together to view film or other video content in public or in private screening rooms. People can talk real-time about the movie they are watching together.

A redesigned user interface highlights’ friends’ media preferences with personal calendars (for movie scheduling), watch lists, and recently purchased movies, in addition to an improved chat client to talk while viewing the film.

lycos chat clientLycos Cinema also includes the addition of video-on-demand rentals through its new StoreFront business model. These movies may be rented for $3.99, $5.99 for two to five people to watch simultaneously, or $7.99 for six to 10 participants.

“Our experience shows us that while film and TV fans welcome the increasing availability to view premium content online, they also desire the social interaction that is inherent in today’s web as a part of their viewing experience,” said Chuck Ball, vice president of sales and marketing for Lycos (release). “By enabling users to watch the same program at the same time, Lycos Cinema gives users a unique viewing experience they cannot find anywhere else.”

While we like the social aspect of Lycos Cinema, we don’t think it’s well implemented unless you and your friends are “B” movie fans, film students, or you like schmaltzy movies like “Death at Love House,” or “Cure of Faceless Man.”

To date, Lycos has not signed content agreements with major Hollywood studios, television networks, or production companies like Hulu has accomplished. Available content for Lycos Cinema include National Lampoon Webisodes, ProElite mixed martial arts video, and content from Indie Vision Films.

Getting together to watch the latest episode of “Lost” and chat in real-time about Jack, Kate, and Sawyer is compelling but not available on sites such as Hulu, which has content from major studios and networks. It’s not unlike fans holding “American Idol” or “Twin Peaks” weekly viewing parties in dorm rooms or neighborhood bars.

But for now, huddling around computers to watch and comment Mystery Science Theater 3000-style on films such as “Adios Amigos” and “Dead End” seems like, well, a dead end.

[via NewTeeVee]


last100 is edited by Steve O'Hear. Aside from founding last100, Steve is co-founder and CEO of Beepl and a freelance journalist who has written for numerous publications, including TechCrunch, The Guardian, ZDNet, ReadWriteWeb and Macworld, and also wrote and directed the Silicon Valley documentary, In Search of the Valley. See his full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

One Response to “Social online video viewing is compelling, if only Lycos Cinema had better content”

  1. Ultrachrist! says:

    Hey, say what you will about Day of the Triffids, but Ultrachrist! rules. Don’t knock it till you’ve seen it.

    (And frankly, Day of the Triffids is pretty good too!)

    Ultrachrist, signing out.

    – U!

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