Now that YouTube has been acquired for $1.65B by the hottest technology company on the planet, inevitably it will give rise to a whole new generation of online video products. To paraphrase the Eminem song Without Me: "Hey, there's a concept that works! 20 million other YouTubes emerge..."
In this post I take a look at some of the other online video products on the market. Some were around before YouTube, but none of course has captured the world's attention on the scale of YouTube. What are their chances of success? Probably not good on a mass scale, but a lot of them will find suitable niches.
The market for online video products is already crowded. All Things Web 2.0 lists 67 services on its "video 2.0" page. The Web 2.0 Directory has 62 sites on its equivalent page. So what are the most interesting among them - and with the most chance of success?
You can't go past the Big 3 and MySpace. Google Video, Yahoo! Video and MSN Video / MSN Soapbox are all likely to continue with a respectable market share. But if anything, the dark horse here is MySpace Videos. Indeed according to an August Hitwise report, MySpace Videos is already number 2 in the market (behind, you guessed it, YouTube).
Of interest when it comes to the big guns is what Google will do with Google Videos, now that it owns YouTube. The party line coming from Mountain View is that Google Video will continue on and become integrated within Google's product set. I think it will probably be integrated into other Google products, where online video will become more prevalent as broadband services ramp up. Think of Blogger.com with online video capabilities, for example. So over time the Google Video brand will diminish and it will be just an enabling technology for other products in Google.
Overall YouTube will continue its massive advantage in market share, with MySpace probably its only real threat - unless Yahoo and Microsoft come out with something game-changing. MSN Soapbox, Microsoft's latest video product, is too similar to YouTube to be any real threat.
Other online video startup contenders
Vimeo, Revver, Grouper (owned by Sony), Dailymotion, MetaCafe and Motionbox are just some of the 60-odd contenders that want to be the next YouTube. DVGuru has a nice comparison between 10 online video services. Their conclusion:
- Vimeo is best for posting online videos - "wins for its speed, ease-of-use, and simple playback functions." Videoegg is also given good wraps.
- For viewing online videos, YouTube is cited as the best, with vSocial and Grouper a little behind in terms of usability.
- For video editing, Jumpcut "really offers the first leap forward in online video sharing, and is worth a look even if you have no use for editing features". Also mentioned is Motionbox.
Given how many choices there are (60+ and growing fast!), it's hard to see more than a few of these online video startups achieving long-term success. Perhaps it's a matter of which one or two will emerge from the pack with the right combination of new technology and community appeal, to gain a mass market. Your guess is as good as mine!
Mainstream Media contenders
Gotuit is an interesting online video service for mainstream media content. I profiled it back in July when it launched and found it to have some great features - e.g. ability to search inside a video item.
iFILM is another one to watch. It is owned by Viacom (which owns MTV) and so getting popular mainstream content is not going to be a problem for it. I'm aware that iFILM is creating a new social platform for its product too - I've been briefed on it, but can't disclose the details right now.
For these kinds of services, the differentiator is always going to be the fact that they can offer professional content - like pop music videos and sports videos. In that sense, they're more a threat to television companies than Internet companies like Google.
As Google CEO Eric Schmidt said when announcing the YouTube acquisition: online video is the next frontier of the Web. That statement alone will send many entrepreneurs and VCs scrambling to develop an online video product to take advantage of the trend. The big fish are already well established though - with all big Internet companies having a product offering in the space. Google is of course the best positioned now, after its YouTube deal.
Are there many big deals left? I don't see any other big deals happening any time soon, as none of the other startups has a big enough footprint in the market to be an attractive acquisition target.
The best chance for success for all the startups vying for attention is to either come out with a next-generation product that takes online video functionality to the next level, and/or target a specific niche market. So far I haven't seen anything to knock my socks off, but if you have then please leave a comment!