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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

DivX's Stage6 Video Site Fades Out

From the "If a video-sharing site falls in the forest, and no one is around to hear it" department...

The San Diego tech company DivX is shutting down its Stage6 video-sharing site, which aimed to be a higher-resolution version of YouTube -- and had plans to share revenue with its users and enable pay-per-download. The site launched in the fall of 2006, but never attracted much of a following.

Even though the venture didn't succeed, and no one wanted to buy Stage6, DivX is declaring victory, contending that "We helped prove that it's possible to distribute true high definition video on the Internet. And we helped broaden the Internet video experience by offering content that is compatible with DVD players, mobile devices and other products beyond the PC."

Here's more from the sorry-we're-closing e-mail I got last night from a DivX employee:

    So why are we shutting the service down? Well, the short answer is that the continued operation of Stage6 is a very expensive enterprise that requires an enormous amount of attention and resources that we are not in a position to continue to provide. There are a lot of other details involved, but at the end of the day it's really as simple as that.

    Now, why didn't we think of that before we decided to create Stage6 in the first place, you may ask? That's a good question. When we first created Stage6, there was a clear need for a service that would offer a true high-quality video experience online because other video destinations on the Internet simply weren't providing that to users. A gap existed, and Stage6 arrived to fill it.

    As Stage6 grew quickly and dramatically (accompanied by an explosion of other sites delivering high-quality video), it became clear that operating the service as a part of the larger DivX business no longer made sense. We couldn't continue to run Stage6 and focus on our broader strategy to make it possible for anyone to enjoy high-quality video on any device. So, in July of last year we announced that we were kicking off an effort to explore strategic alternatives for Stage6, which is a fancy way of saying we decided we would either have to sell it, spin it out into a private company or shut it down.

    I won't (and can't, really) go into too much detail on those first two options other than to say that we tried really hard to find a way to keep Stage6 alive, either as its own private entity or by selling it to another company. Ultimately neither of those two scenarios was possible, and we made the hard decision to turn the lights off and cease operation of the service.

    So that's where we are today. After February 28, Stage6 will cease to exist as an online destination. ...

DivX's primary business is selling software that enables high-quality video encoding and playback on PCs, DVD players, and other consumer devices.

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