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Live, from your dining room, it’s your own TV channel

Column: does for TV what home-publishing software did for newsletters.

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It is wicked cool.

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Mogulus comes in two flavors: a free ad-supported model (every few minutes, the text of an ad will go across the bottom of the screen) and a pro model (users pay either $350 or $1,250 a month, depending on what you want to do and the number of people you anticipate your channel reaching).

The company is pretty open about its financing. About $2.7 million comes from individuals. But Mogulus also has a major partner, newspaper publisher Gannett, which gave the company $10 million in funding this year.

Mogulus CEO Max Haot acknowledges that before this venture, people had already been broadcasting video on the Internet, but only if they basically had the same equipment as a regular television station. Mogulus breaks that financial barrier down, allowing anyone with a webcam to broadcast, he says.

“You know, something like CNN is the ultimate vision,” Mr. Haot says. “Mogulus would allow anyone to produce something similar if they had the talent and ability. But it doesn’t have to be that complex. We have over 200,000 producers right now, and most of them are not professionals.”

The number of minutes that viewers are logging on Mogulus doubles every two months, according to the company.

Haot says that his company’s goal is to keep the free service strong, not only because they believe it helps democratize Internet video, but it’s also the best way to ensure adoption by larger media companies.

The deal with Gannet is a great example,” he says. “Local Gannett outlets started to use it for free. And then corporate started to pay attention to what was happening. That’s when they got in touch with us. We didn’t even know it was happening.”

Haot also hopes that the free service will ultimately pay for itself.

“We have no plans to make the free service only half-work as a way to drive people to the ‘pro’ model,” he says. “If we can make it work, we even hope one day to be able to give some of the revenue back to the producers.”

Mogulus definitely makes my list of the most interesting and innovative sites of the year. And whether you are a professional media company, a local organization that wants to find an inexpensive way to broadcast your meetings, or a couple of guys or gals sitting around a table talking, you’ll want to check out Mogulus soon.