Sofanatics is Social Videochat Around Sports, Works With Finnish Broadcasting Company

We've done our share of guessing what Sofanatics, a new Finnish stealth startup, is up to with their concept and it seems that finally there's some light being shed to their work. It comes from an interesting source, one of the blogs hosted by Finnish Broadcasting Company. The blog post is titled "Videochat combines home couches during the Olympics".

The blog post also tells us that on 17th of February, they will open yle.sofanatics.com to showcase the service and enable social video viewing during the first ice hockey match of the Finnish national team in Vancouver. According to the post, usage is easy. Everyone is able to create their own room for watching sports with their friends. Users can invite others with Facebook credentials and thus it takes only a few minutes to get going.

It also mentions that "all you need to do is flip on a webcam and you're good to go". Now this can be understood in several ways. Either the webcam is used for social purposes or actual video streaming, which however is unlikely as they are working in this close co-operation with YLE.

The monetisation of the concept is now easier to understand as well. Most likely, Sofanatics is offering the service as a paid value added service to media companies around the world. This would be a great way to capitalise and build traction to the concept as it would be free for consumers.

YLE also states that new features to the service will be showcased during the Ice Hockey world championships in May.

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joonas, February 06, 2010

i'm sure the guys have plenty up their sleeves. the roll-out via the national broadcasting company is a great way to get the average sports watching crouds to test it out and get valuable real life feedback on a large scale. let's hope the service is up to the expectations of the couch-dwelling sports viewers and maintains traction. looking forward to seeing more!

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Vili Lehdonvirta, February 22, 2010

Slightly OT, but to me the words "social videochat" bring to mind Japan's Nico Nico Douga:

"Users can upload, view and share video clips. Unlike other video sharing sites, however, comments are overlaid directly onto the video, synced to a specific playback time. This allows comments to respond directly to events occurring in the video, in sync with the viewer - creating a sense of a shared watching experience."

You need to create an account to view videos on Nico Nico, but here's a clip on Youtube that gives an idea of how it looks like in practice:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jox5J_sZG9w&feature=related

Not sure if I would want to see those commentators via webcam...

Greetings from Tokyo :)