Proving Scoble wrong, Qik lives on and opens public beta to boot

Proving Scoble wrong, Qik lives on and opens public beta to boot

Summary: Qik, a popular streaming mobile video service, has finally opened its public beta program and has released a slew of new features to go along with it. This is great news considering last month tech pundit Robert Scoble declared Qik all but dead in the wake newcomer Kyte.

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TOPICS: Mobility
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Qik, a popular streaming mobile video service, has finally opened its public beta program and has released a slew of new features to go along with it. This is great news considering last month tech pundit Robert Scoble declared Qik all but dead in the wake newcomer Kyte.

The noise began when Scoble boldly predicted via TechCrunch that Kyte was going to kill Qik (and Flixwagon) because of its integration capabilities, better handset availability and other features. Many (like me) didn't agree then and many (like me) don't agree now. The folks in least agreement seem to be the people over at Qik. According to co-founder Bhaskar Roy, Qik usage stats are still clipping along at a fast rate, even in invitation-only alpha. The chart below from Compete.com shows that from a video consumption perspective, Qik is being more frequented by watchers than Kyte. [Update 7/21/2008 10:18 a.m. An error was made with site comparison. Kyte.tv is the service site, not Kyte.com. While the graphic and Compete.com link have been updated the original point is still correctly illustrated]:

Some may argue that more people were visiting the Qik site versus the Kyte site out of necessity due to Kyte's more expansive distribution, so I'm not citing those stats as scientific proof of one service's popularity over another. I just want to prove that Qik is not only nowhere near dead, is it anywhere near dying, either.

Let's take a look at some of the new features:

  • Facebook integration - Kyte was the first to debut a direct-to-Facebook application but now Qik has one, too. As with Kyte's application, Qik's Facebook integration allows users to stream live video from their phones directly to their profiles. Qik already offered similar integration for MySpace and Orkut.
  • Expanded distribution - Qik is now usable on multiple phones and through multiple mobile networks. The company claims to support more than 30 handsets (with alpha iPhone support starting soon) and is now compatible with Verizon and Sprint handsets (Qik previously could only be used with T-Mobile and AT&T).
  • Groups - Roy says that during Qik's alpha period the company found that people want to broadcast into microcommunities. The new groups will allow for segmenting and privacy options so that people can create videos for specific interest groups, or even just family and friends versus work videos. This will all be permissions-based.
  • Self-service event management - Qik has been used at a variety of large conferences. The event streaming has historically either been informal or set up on the back-end by Qik staff. With the new self-service feature anyone, including a host of a family reunion or the marketing go-getter behind a giant user conference, can set up an event via Qik where videos can be appropriately aggregated. A service that others might charge for is currently free with Qik.

Even while there is a perceived mobile video battle neither company sees the other as a real competitor -- at least to its business model. Kyte sells pre-roll space and allows rebranding of its Kyte video player for advertising dollars. As of last Friday, Roy maintained that Qik will not move to an ad-based revenue model and will continue to be free for its users, at least for basic capabilities. In the future, Roy says, the service may consider charging for service enhancements or for some commercial services but it wants to remain a transparent service for its users and integration partners. Which model is more lucrative? Since both of these approaches are greenfield only time will tell which monetization approach proves more successful.

Again, Qik is not dead. It's now open to anyone, it has new shiny features and more on the way (look for live streaming from phone-to-phone and integration with game consoles in the future) and a broader distribution network.

If you needed further proof that Scoble was wrong in declaring Qik a goner? Check out his July 12 posted video interview with Congressman John Culberson -- filmed using Qik.

Topic: Mobility

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3 comments
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  • Kyte Clarifications

    Hi, this is Gannon from Kyte. I'd like to clarify a few issues raised by your article:

    Your article compares kyte.com to qik.com. First off, Kyte.com is our corporate site, not our service, so this comparison is irrelevant. Our service is kyte.tv. Secondly, Kyte is not a destination, but an enabling technology. 99% of our traffic occurs outside of kyte.tv, on partner destinations, personal blogs, social networks, and mobile devices. If you do a comparison, I suggest you use ComScore, who at least attempt to measure off-destination "widget" traffic.

    You are correct in that we do not see Qik as a competitor. Our business models are very different. Kyte is a universal digital media platform, of which live mobile streaming is but one component. This feature gets a lot of attention in the early adopter press, but for our partners it represents one of several ways (including pre-produced video uploads, mobile email, mobile record and upload, live webcam, APIs, etc.) they can produce and distribute digital content.

    Thanks,
    Gannon
    gannonh
    • Clarification appreciated.

      Hi Gannon,

      I appreciate your note, and I agree, it was an error in comparing Qik.com to Kyte.com rather than Kyte.tv. After reviewing your comment I did do the correct comparison as well as update this in the blog (http://siteanalytics.compete.com/kyte.tv+qik.com/?metric=uv). In the end, this updated comparison also supports my point that Qik is not dying.

      As I said in the blog post itself, "[i]Some may argue that more people were visiting the Qik site versus the Kyte site out of necessity due to Kyte?s more expansive distribution, so I?m not citing those stats as scientific proof of one service?s popularity over another. I just want to prove that Qik is not only nowhere near dead, is it anywhere near dying, either.[/i]

      My sole purpose was to prove that Qik is not going anywhere. Had I wanted to do a comparison to assess which company was truly ahead in terms of video consumption, I would have used comScore or a similar service. It appears what we have here is a disagreement in methodology versus an inaccuracy. But I understand you are quite passionate about Qik and completely support your wanting to clarify.

      I've written before the merits of Kyte's service as a channel versus a destination and even called out in the above paragraph that Kyte has a more expansive distribution network as compared to Qik. Again, intention with this post was to call out the new features of Qik and to prove, once again, that there's room in the market for both companies.

      I am sincerely sorry for any confusion, however, and wish you and the team at Kyte good luck. I've spoken with both Daniel and Ulysses in the past and both were very helpful. I hope to do so again, and also speak with you, in the future.

      Cheers,
      Jennifer
      Jennifer Leggio
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