Mashable! reported on Friday that changes were afoot for BlogTv and sure enough I received my BlogTV newsletter and they confirmed all the new features now offered at the live streaming service. (from the BlogTV Newsletter)
New Features: Incredible new features are coming in the next few weeks that I think you will all be thrilled about:Is BlogTV prepping for a change?
1. One on one video will allow you to chat privately with your friends FACE 2 FACE!
2. File Transfer will be one of the features in the 1 to 1 private video so you will be able to share files with your best blogTV buddies.
3. Also coming soon you will be able to notify your friends on ICQ, MSN, AIM and yahoo messenger when your show is on!
4. The font in chats will be changed from Arial to Tahoma so there will be NO MORE CLONED USERNAMES hooray!!!!
Mashables (whom I respect immensely - hi Mark!) wondered whether or not these changes were implemented to move BlogTV further away from the UGC/Live Streaming market and more toward an online video conferencing space. I'm not too sure about that. (At this point I need to explain that I am a co-host of a show on BlogTV and the following is not intended to disparage BlogTV, it's staff, or affiliates) I doubt that BlogTV would be taken seriously by any business in the market for a video conference tool and individuals can find alternative solutions without the all the window dressing of a site like BlogTV.
A visit to the site at any time of the day will greet you with the ambling and ramblings of just plain real folks talking about...well whatever strikes their fancy. The overwhelming majority of the BlogTV shows are "Read & Greet" type shows where the hosts simply read whats written by those in the chat room and respond to those comments. (There's a lot of blank staring into the screen, preening, and due to the strictly enforced TOS (terms of service) horrible "background" music picked up by crappy web cam microphones so as not to violate but rather usurp the ban on "copyrighted music") This isn't the case for everyone as there are some real standouts on the site. Recently popular YouTube vidcaster Phillip DeFranco seems to be flirting with BlogTV as a platform for a new live show though he currently uses Stickam for live chats.
I think it is more likely that BlogTV wants to offer these new features to their current users as enhancements to the service that were discussed and/or requested on the forums and in various chats.
BlogTV remains unique enough in the "Live Show" category among other platforms like Stickam, UStream, NowLive, and Operator 11 that it should be around and growing for some time to come but I doubt that there is a fundamental shift to the sites business model underway. But hey, I've been wrong before!