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Knocka: MTV 2.0?

The CEO of the new youth-oriented video site Knocka wants to steal YouTube viewers by offering less content and more structure.

We have invitations for the closed alpha of Knocka. Read the end to get yours.

I don't care for the content on the new video site Knocka. But I really like the concept.

Knocka is an Internet television network. It has "channels" of streaming content. Unlike video sharing sites like YouTube, users can't randomly select videos to play when they wish (except clips they've already seen in a stream), nor can they embed Knocka vids in other sites. Kncoka is a destination site, not a media library.

But even though Knocka can be watched in passive mode, like television, interactivity and community are a big part of the Knocka equation. Viewers can text chat with each other in a window under a running show, and can engage in person-to-person Webcam video chats with their friends. And content is chosen through a combination of user voting and editorial oversight. On the current alpha site, users can vote on clips that play in the channels, and the voting will affect the rotation of a show: Good vote, more plays; bad votes, less. Eventually, Knocka will let its users further upstream in the editorial process. It will let users vote on videos in the submissions bin to help decide what makes it into the channels themselves.

Lean back and be entertained. If you call this entertainment.

At the moment, content is coming from some existing producers, like Aniboom and Rocketboom, as well as from users. All content is being funneled into just three channels: Music, Extreme Sports, and "Kandy," aka the lingerie channel. (There's also an overview channel.) More channels will launch soon.

Knocka puts glitzy and loud promos and graphics around the videos, making each video stream feel like an MTV production. The Web interface is also very good. It offers a decent amount of social interaction without getting in the way.

While I really like the Web interface and the concept, I found a lot of the videos on the service just plain crude. But that's only my opinion, and I'm not the target demographic. Knocka, currently, is aiming for a much younger viewer than me, with aspirations to launch channels for different audiences later.

Also coming soon, CEO Nir Erlich told me, are more live video features, like live shows that put audience members in the middle of the streams. Erlich thinks that it will be easier to pull viewers into these live shows than it will to grab people to watch the live streams on sites like uStream and Operator11. Or, I suppose,

Erlich says Knocka is about, "Moving from an unlimited number of channels to a limited number. But structured." It's an old-fashioned concept, more reminiscent of television channels from the 1950s and '60s than what we currently think of as a modern video service that tries to offer everything to everybody. Knocka is not the only video site based on focus over quantity, though. There's Current, a higher-brow content and video company that is also trying to put social engineering on video consumption, and there's Mania TV, another show-based video service.

I found Knocka's social interface intuitive and fun. I complained about the rotten videos and voted them down, but I had a good time doing so. This is a very intriguing video platform.

Erlich plans to open up Knocka in about three months. In the meantime, he says he's reserved "at least 500" Knocka invitations for Webware users. Sign up here to get yours: