Comcast Launches Beta Test of Ziddio

With word leaking out that Comcast was starting a user-generated video site, the company today launched a beta version of "Ziddio," a contest-driven website for user-submitted content. Ziddio, expected to fully launch in Dec., will ultimately solicit user-generated video in eight genres: Comedy, Animation, Games, Movies, Horror/Sci-Fi, Action/Drama, Music and Reality.

In contrast to leading user-video website YouTube, which serves as a portal to showcase consumer content online, Ziddio will operate mainly as a venue for consumers to get their content on TV, according to a source close to Comcast.

Users will be able submit video online for consideration to run on Comcast's video-on-demand channels or to be included in shows on Comcast-owned linear cable entertainment channels, such as E! and G4. Ziddio, an initiative of Comcast's Interactive Media division, will be available to all Internet users, not solely Comcast subscribers.

The beta version of Ziddio is currently running two contests. "Join the Jedi Order," for which users are invited to submit video about why they should be included in the Star Wars warrior clan, is designed to promote Cinemax's first-ever offering of all six Star Wars movies in HD. The winner will be featured both online and on VOD. "Search for the Messiest Home," which invites users to submit video on their disorganizes houses, promotes Clean House on Comcast's linear Style Network. The winner will be featured both on VOD and in a segment of Style's show.

Comcast, which is the world's largest broadband provider, has increasingly been looking to ancillary web businesses to build its revenue. On Halloween, for example, it launched VOD/Internet horror channel FearNet . Ziddio will be ad-supported and Comcast is already devising strategies to protect copyrighted content from ending up on the site, according to the source.