Entertainment-related Internet companies continue to feel the venture-capital pinch, with Fastv.com becoming the latest victim. Last week, the company released 79 of its 80 employees and told them it was ceasing operation after an unsuccessful attempt at financing.
Fastv.com's original business plan was to offer a destination portal where Web surfers could search for video content from Fastv.com partners. But Tim Winter, Fastv.com president, says the company found it was too expensive to drive traffic to the site and that a better business would be to enable video-content partners' own Web sites. "We were shifting from an ad-inventory model to a fee-based model when the plug was pulled," says Winter.
Winter has been talking to potential buyers, including competitors, traditional-media companies and new-media companies. "We're trying to make a deal happen as quickly as possible, and if we can't get something done soon, we're going to consider a bankruptcy filing."
A skeleton crew is working alongside Winter maintaining the site as well as partners' Web sites including WNBC-TV New York.
Jeff Morris, president and CEO of Yack.com., which defines itself as an Internet program guide, says the companies having the most trouble are those that will work best in the broadband environment-and by and large, broadband still hasn't arrived at the party.
"And what's happened is that, if your business model is contingent on the deployment of broadband,''he notes, "then you better have really deep pockets while you wait for it."
But Winter believes Fastv.com may have suffocated on its opportunities. The ability to expand the range of topics and offerings simply overwhelmed the company. "We probably should have focused on one or two areas," he now says.