Startup provides online marketplace

Mediapeers aims to complement global content

BERLIN — Looking to make money on back-catalog titles that have long been collecting dust? Or tired of those hot, stuffy and overcrowded mobile-content presentations at international markets?

Well, it might be time to go online.

Mediapeers, a new business-to-business marketplace best described as a cross between eBay, Amazon and YouTube for the media industry, looks certain to complement the international content sector, if not completely revolutionize the market.

Launched last year by Holger Hendel, Moritz Viehweger and Torsten Oettel, the Berlin startup added a major partner in December in the form of Deutsche Telekom, which selected the firm as one of the recipients of its T-Online Venture Fund.

With its Mediapeers Exchange (MPX), the company helps buyers acquire content while offering an avenue for rights holders, distributors and creators to sell movies, shows and formats at fixed prices or to the highest bidder.

For Deutsche Telekom, the investment also serves a strategic purpose.

As one of Mediapeers’ growing number of users — who also include cable operators, broadcasters, rights traders and Internet TV channels — the telco has turned to the platform to acquire content for its video-on-demand services.

Squarely aimed at the international market, Mediapeers has so far attracted 104 registered users from the U.S., Australia, France, the U.K., Spain and Austria, including such high-profile companies as Endemol, Sony BMG, Eurosport, Austrian pubcaster ORF, Red Bull and French newspaper Le Figaro.

“I am very impressed by the Mediapeers Exchange — a really well-thought-through distribution tool,” says Martin Hoffmann, CEO of leading German indie TV production group MME Moviement. “MPX feels like a Swiss Army Knife for content distribution: everything you need in one place, concentrated on what matters, value for money and ease of use.”

Indeed, Mediapeers’ founders say their service will significantly reduce transaction costs and dramatically simplify cooperation between content owners and buyers.

The platform allows rights owners to market their products worldwide while helping buyers discover a vast range of often hard-to-find niche content, from TV shows and movies (including some John Wayne and Bruce Lee classics) to programs on classical music, sports fishing, freestyle motocross, wellness and beauty.

Mediapeers’ service is based on sell-side commissions with no fixed costs for either sellers or buyers.

“While a German sales company might easily sell a programming package to a European broadcaster, it might not be set up to sell just a few titles to a VOD platform in Southeast Asia,” says Viehweger.

To that end, Mediapeers can enlarge a seller’s customer base, but it’s unlikely to replace international market events that bring sellers and buyers face to face.

“What we can do is help reduce the stress level for a lot of people at the markets who won’t have to spend all their time trying to meet small-scale buyers or niche content providers, since they know they can do that on Mediapeers. That way they can just enjoy the cocktail receptions.”

The company has already succeeded in making a strong impression on the industry. In April, Mediapeers won the Red Herring 100 Europe 2008 innovation prize for its potential to revolutionize the global trade of audiovisual media, joining a list of high-profile recipients that includes the likes of Google, eBay and Skype.

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