YouTube Challenger Vessel Details Subscription, Ad-Supported Service

by Shelton on December 31st, 2014

filed under Cash Advances

Vessel launched an early version of its much anticipated online-video service Wednesday, looking to attract producers and performers ahead of a planned mass-market launch early next year.

The company, led by former Hulu CEO Jason Kilar, said it will offer both a $2.99-per-month subscription service with exclusive short-form videos and an ad-supported service like Google ‘s YouTube.

Vessel is among several Internet and media companies racing to build video libraries, including Facebook , Yahoo and Dreamworks Animation . The offerings will largely try to mimic the success of YouTube, some of whose stars have built huge followings and cut deals for movies, books and endorsements.

YouTube executives are particularly worried about Vessel, which has raised more than $75 million, according to a person familiar with the matter, and aggressively sought to poach YouTube stars. In response, YouTube has raced to lock up some of its stars to exclusive deals.

Vessels subscription service will offer exclusive access to videos for three days or more. Thereafter, the same videos would be viewable for free, accompanied by advertising.

Producers who have agreed to place content on Vessel include Alec Baldwin, who will produce and star in a show called “Love Ride,” where he advises couples while riding with them in a taxi. Some YouTube stars, including musical group Boyce Avenue and entertainment duo Rhett and Link, have also agreed to exclusivity periods with Vessel.

Vessel has struck deals for music videos from the big three recording labels — Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group and Universal Music Group — though none will offer exclusive content to start.

The early version of the service — which looks like a less-cluttered version of YouTube is only available to video creators. Unlike YouTube, where anyone can upload videos, Vessel will select the videos on its site, aiming for higher quality, Kilar said. Advertisers include Frito-Lay, Geico and Gap.

Kilar says the inexpensive subscriptions and strong fan bases of Vessel’s performers will attract subscribers, even though Internet users are not accustomed to paying for short-form video content.

But first Vessel must attract more video makers. Some have hesitated because they are skeptical of Vessel’s business model, according to people familiar with the matter.

To entice them, Vessel has offered cash advances and a portion of subscription fees to some video makers, depending on how often their videos are viewed. Video-makers will also get 70% of advertising revenues associated with their videos, more than the 55% they typically receive from YouTube.

YouTube, which has more than one billion users, has responded by offering bonuses to lock up some of its own stars to exclusive content arrangements. It is also planning its own subscription services; it began testing a music subscription service last month.

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Alleged Credit Card Conman Exposed in Patong by Phuketwan Reader

by Shelton on December 31st, 2014

filed under Cash Advances

The Phuket case raises the issue of whether more people who face serious allegations could be changing their names via deed poll to flee to Thailand and other countries.

Using the name Taylor Grainger, the Kiwi was arrested last week after Patong police allegedly caught the 41-year-old with 1.2g of methamphetamine and 0.95g of cocaine.

New Zealands Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said there had been confusion over his name, which is actually Grainge Taylor.

A Phuketwan reader alerted the editor to the possibility the man had another identity and NZ Herald inquiries showed Taylor was originally known in New Zealand as Grainge Marriott Madgwick.

He took what is believed to be his wifes surname after police began investigating allegations of credit card fraud against him in 2010, the Herald reported.

Births, Deaths and Marriages officials in NZ have since confirmed Madgwick changed his name on December 13, 2010, to Grainge Taylor.

The Herald understands that Madgwick left the country the following month under his new name, before a warrant was issued for his arrest in August 2012.

The warrant was issued due to Mr Madgwick failing to appear on a number of fraud-related charges, said a police spokesman, who confirmed the warrant was still active.

The revelations follow the case in New Zealand of convicted murderer and child abuser Phillip John Smith, who fled to Brazil while on temporary release from Springhill prison using a passport he obtained under his birth name.

Madgwick was alleged to have spent more than $100,000 using credit card accounts belonging to up to 10 other people – including family members – sparking an overhaul of a banks online application process back in 2010.

Investigators stated Madgwick used the details of others to get credit cards and applied for them online.

He was listed on credit card application forms as an additional cardholder and under bank rules at the time, any spending was charged to the primary card holder.

Among those who were stung by Madgwicks alleged con was a man he met at an Auckland bar.

The man, who became friends with Madgwick and drank regularly with him, said he was astounded when a collection agency called and demanded $22,000 for debt on a banks credit card.

The man, who asked to remain anonymous, said Madgwick spent the money during a two-month splurge in 2009. He bought groceries, liquor at bars and at wholesalers and made many cash advances.

The man recognised Madgwick when he saw his picture in Phuketwan on Boxing Day and emailed the editor.

New Zealands Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said Madgwicks family were receiving consular assistance.

Madgwick was being held in Phuket Prison today, jail officials confirmed. He has denied selling drugs and says he kept them for personal use only.

Its likely an extradition order will be sought by New Zealand officials.

The comment on an earlier article from the Phuketwan reader, passed on to Phuket police and the New Zealand Herald, read: Let the cops know his real name is Grainge Madgwick (spelling) from Taranaki.