A Vancouver firm secured US$6.5 million in venture capital earlier this month for its novel approach to online user-generated content: a service that’s part Flickr, part Youtube and part podcasting.   "We use a very unique way to allow many people – if not all the people – who want to watch your broadcast to it and have quality of service at the same time," Ron Stevens, CEO of Pixpo Inc., says, explaining the technology behind his firm’s Pixpo 3.0 offering. The company announced the Series A financing on May 19, slightly more than two weeks after the debut of Pixpo 3.0. All that’s required to start broadcasting content – audio, video or still images – using Pixpo is a broadband connection, the free software, and a device for capturing content. On the audience side, the only necessary equipment is a Web browser. Stevens is guarded on the specifics of Pixpo’s inner workings, citing IP patent applications and the need for competitive secrecy. However, he divulges that the service uses a "hybrid network" composed of two common file-sharing methods – Web hosting and peer-to-peer – as well as a third emerging one, peer-to-Web. The latter is particular to Pixpo, Stevens says, and something he’s keeping secret for now. "The rule of thumb is that over 70% of the content lies at the edge of the network , not sitting in servers," Stevens says, explaining the importance of the peer-to-Web piece. "And, the stuff that’s in servers is certainly old." Consequently, Pixpo 3.0 uses "edge-of-network" distributed computing technology to allow users to "broadcast" content directly from their PC or notebook, with no uploading to third-party hosted sites. That means content can be updated on the fly, and even broadcast live directly to the Web. "It’s basically near-video-on-demand," Stevens says. In an attempt to avoid the copyright infringement issues plaguing upload services such as Youtube, the company requires users to agree not to broadcast content they don’t hold the copyright for. Pixpo is also working on a search engine that will scour broadcasts by ID, keyword and other metatags, and will also allow the company to insert context-specific rich-media ads into broadcasts. For example, a comedian broadcasting his performances to a viewer in Ottawa would have advertising promoting comedy nights in Ottawa-area clubs inserted into the video stream. "On the network we see the viewer and we see the broadcaster," Stevens says, adding that broadcasters will receive a cut of any advertising revenue they attract. "Just if you’re CBC or NBC or CBS, you’re going to get paid through advertising as long as your content is being watched and is being focused to a community that we think we can leverage," he says. Pixpo also plans to make additional revenue by selling "premium" versions of the broadcaster software – priced around $30 for a year’s subscription – featuring more customization options. The company is also hoping to interest broadband carriers in purchasing private-label versions of the software for distributing to subscribers. "We’ll offer an app will be labeled for them – for example, the Telus Personal Broadcasting Network – because the reason people are these broadband pipes…is not just to read static Web pages, it’s really to do multimedia," Stevens says. In addition to monetary incentives – and ego boosts – Stevens says Pixpo should appeal to would-be broadcasters because they keep control over their content. "Once it’s uploaded to a third-party site like Youtube, it’s gone, you’ve lost control," he says. With Pixpo, he adds, "everybody can be their own ‘Wayne’s World’ at home."