When I first heard about the service I was sure it would be 100% illegal in Finland. I've learned that the opposite is true. It is true because in theory each user has up to four terabytes of memory (whether they decide to pay for all of that is another thing), which means that the programs will be recorded separately to each user. Therefore assuming one has paid her TV license she is entitled to watch any TV show apart from the paid content. We have also heard that next year TVkaista will add even more channels to its current offering.
The founders build the first version by themselves and now they outsource some redevelopment work to a Finnish PHP house Brain Alliance. The new TVkaista is build on Zend framework. The recording technology and the back end will stay the same. The look and feel and the all new player will be build by WWW². The first updated version will have a new layout as well as whole new front end. New Amazon.com-like recommendation features are coming, but rather iteratively along the road instead of all at once: We should see a new feature coming out every month or so. New features will include 1) seeing what your friends have been watching (via social network like profiles), 2) a Watching List where you can choose what you want to watch from the past programs up to two weeks, 3) Favorites which gives you an easy way to follow a weekly series and finally 4) Saved Programs which enables you to save up to 10 programs to the memory which can be watched beyond the two week limit that you have in your watching list.
TVkaista was able to buy the extensive redesign, since unlike many other startups they are making money from the get-go instead of just burning it. TVkaista has already several thousand users and based on the current pricing, already 1000 users will add up to 120,000 euro a year -a hefty sum for a two year old startup with only a few employees. Since they are already making profit, they would not necessarily need third party investors, but they still have a few Finnish ones what we have heard.
TVkaista was jointly found by Pasi Lahtinen and Fredrik Husberg. Fredrik is also currently TVkaista's CEO. In the past the duo worked in telecommunications industry and thus the idea of TVkaista is a natural next step for them in filling a clear void in the market. TVKaista was set up in 2006 and the first commercial version was launched in the beginning of 2008. One of the major commercial implication is how the platform was build: The platform back end enables a quick set up and replication of the concept, which is ideal for a quick expansion to other countries once the service is fully up and running in one country.
Recently TVkaista opened up the service to iPhone, thus making it possible to watch the programs via wireless WLAN networks and 3G. Along with the easy to use service in a desktop browser, this is another reason why we expect the service to spread like wild fire in the Nordics just like TiVo did in the US market.
We are happy to be able to let our readers try the TVkaista service free of charge for two weeks. To get that, you need to go here. Then type 'arcticstartup' to the field that says 'maksukoodi' and you are set for two whole weeks. Enjoy!
The beta version of new TVkaista will be online in 7 days and new TVkaista should go public sometime in December 2008.