New network closes $300k angel round, taps Mark Jeffrey as co-founder and CEO
Technology and entertainment personalities Jason Calacanis and Kevin Pollak today announced they have joined forces on a new Internet-based television network, This Week In, Inc. The startup has closed a modest angel round ($300,000) from a group of investors including Calacanis; Sky Dayton, founder of Earthlink and Boingo; and Matt Coffin, founder of LowerMyBills.com. Podcast pioneer and former Mahalo.com CTO, Mark Jeffrey is heading up the network as co-founder and CEO.
Calacanis explained, “The production of high-quality, live-streaming, video content has finally arrived. In the same way blogs grew from passion projects in 2005 to thriving businesses in 2009, streaming shows are poised to breakout.” Previously Calacanis launched 100 blogs with Weblogs Inc. including Engadget, Joystiq and Autoblog. Weblogs was purchased by AOL.
“I’m thrilled to be working with two visionaries like Jason and Kevin, and look forward to building a great company with them in the years to come,” said Jeffrey.
Jeffrey previously co-founded social network ZeroDegrees and sold it to IAC/InterActiveCorp in 2004. He also co-founded ThePalace, Inc. in 1995 which sold to Communities.com, Inc. in 1998. His first podcast novel got 2.4 million downloads, leading to a publishing deal with Harper Collins.
Building on the success of their popular, award-winning programs, This Week in Startups and Kevin Pollak’s Chat Show, This Week In debuts with a promising lineup of eight shows, all professionally produced from the network’s studio in Santa Monica, Calif. and staffed by passionate hosts. The network intends to create 30 shows over the next two years. This Week In will be holding an Open Casting Call for new show hosts on Saturday, May 22, 2010 beginning at 11 am at the This Week In office located at 902 Colorado Ave., Santa Monica, CA.
According to recent statistics from The Nielsen Company, online video usage has increased more than ten percent year-over-year. eMarketer estimates that 66.7% of US Internet users – 147.5 million people – are watching video online each month.
“The timing for a network like This Week In is finally right,” said Mark Jeffrey, co-founder and CEO of This Week In. “With the popularity of podcast-playing devices like the iPad and offerings like Boxee bringing Web video to living room television screens, high-quality programming can now be delivered via IP with the same potential for viewership as a cable channel.”
This Week In generates revenue through targeted sponsor plugs integrated with the show commentary. Some notable sponsors to date have included Bing, Sonos, WebSpy, UStream, Storm on Demand and Virtacore. All episodes are distributed through the network Web site along with YouTube, iTunes, Boxee, Justin.tv, Ustream and the iPad AppStore, among others.
About This Week In
Based in Santa Monica, CA and founded by Jason Calacanis, Kevin Pollak and Mark Jeffrey, This Week In, Inc. offers a network of shows covering a wide variety of topics from technology to entertainment. Produced out of its Santa Monica studio, This Week In shows feature guest experts, founders, movie stars, comedians, technologists and CEOs — all keeping you up to speed on what’s happening this week with a fast and funny style. Informative and entertaining, ThisWeekIn is the place for whatever your interests may be. To learn more, please visit www.thisweekin.com.