Knocka TV: yet another online video identity crisis

4 12 2007

knockatvs.pngRoi Carthy reveals that user-generated video portal Knocka TV [might need a rebrand for U.K. users :)] is to launch later today, following four months in beta.

The Israeli start-up is backed by the founders of instant messaging service ICQ, sold to AOL in 1998 for US $408 million.

Testing the limits of contradictory language, the service bills itself as “a user generated professional television network” [so which is it?] Reading on in the blurb, it’s clear that Knocka is attempting to position itself alongside Sony’s Crackle, as a stage for contributors with some modicum of creative prowess, as oppose to the Jackass-a-likey videos clogging up YouTube.

Unlike similar moves by Sony’s Crackle and News Corp.’s MySpace to beef up professionally-produced uploads, Knocka appears to lack the scale of the others’ parent companies, which are able to offer incentives such as development deals with other divisions, such as TV networks.

Knocka’s declared launch proposition is a confusing mix of social networking and online video buzz jargon — doubtless there so that its backers can swiftly offload it on to some hapless investment consortium. Promised are ‘channels’ offering “viewers’ creations”, “hip indie music” and an endless stream of scantily-clad babes masquerading as a “fashion” channel. An extreme sports ‘channel’ is also claimed to be in development.

Quick take: at first sight seems like a cynical attempt to connect with young males, claim a record user base and then flog it off to idiot investors at a time when the market is about to nosedive (again). $408m may not buy you common sense, for everything else there’s a black AmEx…