Sony has decided to go ahead and join the rest of the world in trying to launch its own video sharing service. The company announced its plans at a news conference in Tokyo today, saying that the service will be launched on Friday, first in Japan and later expanded out to other countries, according to Reuters. “This is part of Sony’s quiet software revolution,” said Sony CEO Howard Stringer at the news conference.
Sony says that its service, which will be called eyeVio, will keep a close eye so that the content uploaded by users doesn’t violate copyrights. The company didn’t expand on exactly how it plans to do this—whether they will be forcing content providers to use takedown notices, or whether they will attempt to go the much-talked-about filtering route. Takedowns are what YouTube has now become infamous for, and it’s not going over well with most content providers. Viacom, for example, sued the company for “brazen” copyright infringement by “allowing” their clips to keep returning to the site. Microsoft plans to take the same route as YouTube with Soapbox but has attempted to reach out to content providers about the takedowns before getting into the same mess that YouTube has found itself in.
“We believe there’s a need for a clean and safe place where companies can place their advertisements,” Sony spokesperson Takeshi Honma told Reuters in reference to monitoring the uploaded content. He also said that eyeVio will be free to all users, but that the company hopes to generate revenue in the future through advertising and partnerships with content providers.
Will eyeVio be able to compete in the already crowded market of video sharing sites? The big names like YouTube, Soapbox, and MySpace Video are already having a tough enough time competing with each other. Smaller sites like Revver are still struggling to keep up, too, and Will Ferrell’s FunnyorDie is still working on maintaining popularity after its initial splash. And last month, News Corp. and NBC announced a huge partnership with various content providers to launch its own “YouTube killer” this summer. Sony may already be too late to the party unless the company can offer something unique to its users that the other sites don’t have.