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Is AT&T Eyeing Eyespot?

Phil Harvey

The big phone companies may not be as quick to deliver Internet shared video services as the cable MSOs are, but that doesn’t mean they're ignoring the trend. (See Cable Beats Carriers to Shared Video.)

Sources say AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) has recently been in discussions with up-and-coming video sharer Eyespot Corp. The carrier and Eyespot began talking, according to one source, shortly after the San Diego-based video sharing company pitched its wares as part of the South by Southwest festival back in March. Eyespot's Website is one of the highest ranked in Light Reading's Top Ten Video Sharing Websites, published Monday.

Eyespot officials won't comment directly on what business arrangements they've discussed. The company does admit it has been approached by both a set-top box maker and one "very large North American carrier" with the idea of adding Eyespot content to traditional video offerings, but it won't divulge any potential partner names.

Of course, the company's not exactly surprised at the level of interest in Internet video sharing. As broadcast TV audiences become more fragmented, advertisers are seeking out places where folks spend time online, and video sharing sites are one of those places. "Where the eyeballs go, the advertisers go," Eyespot founder and CTO David Dudas told Light Reading on Tuesday.

AT&T hasn't yet announced any plans to include shared video in its overall consumer bundle. It does have some non-traditional video content on the way, thanks to a deal it struck with Internet video aggregator Akimbo Systems earlier this year. (See AT&T Adds Akimbo VOD.)

Eyespot, however, is different, as it allows for folks to upload, edit, and share their own video content, creating what could be called real reality TV.

AT&T didn't respond to a request for comment on this story.

— Mark Sullivan, Reporter, and Phil Harvey, News Editor, Light Reading

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