Archive for the ‘Video Sites’ category

UGC, Web TV and P2P

September 5, 2008

Generally speaking, online video exists in one of three forms: user-generated, online TV, and file sharing or P2P downloads. Each has their ups and downs, but there seems to be an ongoing debate about which form will ultimately be more successful or overtake the other.

Currently, user-generated videos have the lion’s share of Web traffic. P2P sites have run into a series of legal issues and Web TV hasn’t quite figured out its place online yet. But the big question is, will that always be the case? Things like profitability and growth play a big part in determining which will steal the top spot in the way of long-term popularity.

Online Video Traffic Comparison

Here are my predictions:

  1. User generated video from sites like YouTube, Revver and Qik will continue to be the most popular.
  2. Web TV will not overtake user-generated video as the most popular online video content, but will gain some traffic share. However, Web TV sites will maintain the greatest ability to generate advertising revnue for the next several years.
  3. In terms of video, P2P is on its way out. Movie and television producers are realizing the benefit of making full-length content available online and collecting ad revenue, which cuts down on copyright infringement – making P2P downloads obsolete.

Ad firms and traditional film producers are more comfortable with the TV and movie formats, so logic says they will continue to choose the more predictable Hulu for placement over the less familiar UGC sites. In addition, YouTube just cannot find a business model that works. Valleywag has a great post that summarizes the issue.

In addition, user-generated video sites just don’t work the way that Hulu does. Nalts over at Willvideoforfood posted about why professional grade videos seem to flop on YouTube. I’d suggest reading Nalts’ post, but here’s the summary – YouTube and similar sites are built around community. You can’t just post a video, no matter how great it is, and expect users to pick it up and share it. Networks, loyal fans and community “cred” are the currency of UGC.

It’s this sense of community between millions of viewers that will keep YouTube and other video sharing sites on top of the popularity contest for the foreseeable future – despite their inability to make as much money as TV-turned-Web gurus.

NBCOlympics.com – The Good and the Bad

August 29, 2008

Traditional media has taken great strides to create a compelling online presence – especially major media outlets. But things like this make me think some still don’t totally get it.

Here’s the bad: NBC launched NBCOlympics.com, which promised live and on demand coverage of Olympic events to online viewers. It was a big investment and could have been the go-to place for Olympic videos. Unfortunately, at least according to preliminary numbers from eMarketer, the company took in $5.75 million from video ads – only 1.1% of annual video ad projections.

The obvious question here is, why so little? A strict delivery deal with Microsoft is most likely the culprit. Users were unable to share and repost videos on multiple sites, which severely stunted viewership. Also, the videos required a Silverlight plugin, which many were forced to download to be able to watch any of the videos on the site. Inability to share + forced additional downloads = some seriously turned off viewers.

On the flip side, the good news is this case study shows that online video can work together with the regular old TV. NBC’s numbers showed that 50 percent of those that watched Olympic videos on TV used online video to catch up on events they had missed. A total of 40 percent just wanted to watch something again they had seen on TV. Only 0.2 percent exclusively used the Internet to watch the Olympics.

According to Alan Surtzel, NBC’s president of research, “The Internet hardly cannibalizes; it actually fuels interest.” 

Big Win for Video

August 29, 2008

Major video distribution and sharing sites have started running into Napster-like legal situations when it comes to protecting copyrighted content. Pending cases had some worried that legal limitations to video sharing could eventually stunt or even completely eliminate viral video as it currently exists.

Fortunately for video fans, a U.S. District Court Judge in San Jose has ruled in favor of video distribution site Veoh in a case brought by “content” producer Io Group (Word to the wise – don’t Google Io Group at work). The Io Group decided to sue Veoh in 2006 after several of the company’s video content appeared on Veoh’s site.

The outcome of the ruling stated that Veoh was not liable for copyright violations because it is protected under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The DCMA basically states that content sharing sites cannot held liable if they take steps to filter copyrighted material and quickly remove any copyrighted content that sneaks in if the owners complain. Napster was not protected under the DMCA because, at least according to the courts, they existed solely to pirate and distributed copyrighted materials. On the other hand, sites like Veoh cater to original video content and network placement.

At least where I work, copyright laws are always a consideration – especially when helping a client navigate social media and content sharing. Here are the general takeaways I got from the Veoh case:

  • Can you prove that your site or content sharing platform does not cater to copyrighted material?
  • Take measures to prevent copyright infringement – includes fingerprinting software and monitorin
  • Quickly remove any copyrighted content you find
  • As the owners of the site, do not upload copyrighted material (though it’s forgivable if your users do as long as you remove it once you notice)