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Iceland-based Oz set to launch, aiming to give YouTube a chill

Zach Miners | April 9, 2015
Oz is a new paid subscription service offering videos designed around premium content that aims to take on sites like YouTube.

YouTube itself is also developing its own paid subscription offering.

But Oz is not just about music. Journalists can use it to fund ongoing projects, as can teachers who want to deliver lessons online, Gudjonsson said. Fuel TV, the action sports network, will operate a channel.

It's basically for any person or group who wants to make money from digital videos online, Gudjonsson said.

Troy Wenham, an independent artist from Wales, said he has begun developing animated short films that he might publish through Oz. He said he might publish content on Oz, but if it doesn't perform well, put it on YouTube.

For now, musicians are a focus of Oz's outreach efforts. Icelandic bands like Samaris, Retro Stefson and GusGus will create channels on Oz. Gudjonsoon declined to comment on whether Bjork or Sigur Ros, two Iceland bands popular overseas, would create channels.

Creators can embed their channels onto their own websites, so viewers do not necessarily have to visit Oz's site to access the videos.

Oz videos will also include a tool to create "Moments" -- short clips that can be shared and watched for free on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Oz hopes to make its videos more discoverable this way.

The company is holding a launch party on Thursday in Los Angeles, where it is in the early stages of planning another office.

Because, while Oz's headquarters will remain in Reykjavik, Iceland, "the home of creators in the physical world," Gudjonsson said, "is Los Angeles."

 

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