In the days of venture capital funding announcements in the millions, Ashkan Karbasfrooshan, founder of video site WatchMojo,com, offers a counter-argument. Karbasfrooshan was interviewed on the red carpet at the recent Streaming Media West conference in Los Angeles, where he said that his company is prospering because it never raised venture capital funds.
The VCs wanted Karbasfrooshan to offer user-generated content on his site to build viewing numbers quickly, something that Karbasfrooshan was against. His vision was to offer high-value original online video that wasn’t produced in a sweatshop.
Slow growth, he said, is a red flag to venture capitalists.
Karbasfrooshan admits that the slow growth ideal has cost him. He took a conservative approach to building distribution channels, something that many of his competitors did far more aggressively. Rather that taking risks on deals, he wanted to insure that he was building revenue sources so that he could keep the lights on and continue to pay his staff.
At the moment, 40 percent of WatchMojo.com’s views come from YouTube, while only 10 percent of its revenue does.
“I don’t want to be the hundredth company trying to be the number one platform. I don’t want to be the Google of video, because Google will be the Google of video through YouTube. But I do want a company that is a low risk potentially high reward venture, and I think content is that,” said Karbasfrooshan.
Karbasfrooshan addressed other issues in the interview, such as the current storm of protest against proposed laws that could slow video sites by giving more power to network operators. Video sites should step into the network operators’ shoes to understand their concerns, he suggested.
“I just think when all the sudden the tech world and the VCs go crazy, and they’re like, ‘Oh, my God, these bills are horrible,’ where I’m like, wait a second, why don’t you just go put yourself in the shoes of the other side and maybe you’d understand that they’re basically doing exactly what you do, which is its easier to ask for forgiveness than permission,” said Karbasfrooshan.
During the Streaming Media West conference, Karbasfrooshan participated in a panel on how streamed content will alter the TV industry. People like TV’s lean-back experience he said, so he doesn’t think it will lose out completely to the Internet, like the music industry did, but he does see changes coming.
“I don’t think it’ll be as bad, but obviously television will have to shrink,” noted Karbasfrooshan.
To view the entire red carpet interview, scroll down.
These Streaming Media Red Carpet Interviews are sponsored by Front Porch Digital.