Archive for March, 2007

What’s Next for Online Video?

Wednesday, March 7th, 2007

Video Camera imageIt’s a pretty broad question but many are asking it. In order to solve it and analyze future trends, we need to look at different areas of the online video world. For this reason, I have broken this post into a series of paragraphs outlining what I think we can expect from this exploding industry.

Content: The old Internet adage is true - content is indeed King. Without good video content, the eyeballs won’t come. And it’s not just about quantity, otherwise I would proclaim all YouTube competitors as being dead in the water. It’s also about topics, themes, and categories. This is where I see opportunity for niche sites to step in capture a chunk of the pie. Pornotube, for example, bases itself around the YouTube model, but focuses on a ‘certain’ niche. Metacafe prides itself by only adding a small number of highly-viral videos to the site everyday.

This is a trend we will continue to see not only in the video category, but also throughout the web as the Internet giants face a future, fragmented onslaught.

Two more tidbits to add from a content perspective: more and more traditional industries will begin or continue to leverage online video as a tool and selling feature (i.e. real estate, tourism, artists, etc..).

Finally, new content providers will make their mark on the industry. Already, TV networks are beginning to realize that they cannot combat this trend. Online video and IPTV are here to stay. Expect them to flourish. Proof lies in the actions of the networks. Most now stream full-length TV episodes from their websites. I would wager that other content providers will follow in these footsteps. But how will movie studios react and strategize?

Advertising: This obviously seems to be the revenue model of choice for the majority of video sites. But is it sustainable? If bandwidth charges surpass advertising revenues, the likely culmination is ugly. Expect all types of new advertising ploys on video sites including interstitials, pre- and post-roll, and unconventional banner placements.

Other revenue models: Ha. Do they exist? Definitely. A previous post described numerous ways YouTube could monetize the site beyond advertising. They include subscription services, affiliate programs, content sales (i.e. the iTunes for video), branded product sales (i.e. YouTube mugs), directory services, or even licensing. Other sites will need to evaluate this situation as revenue seems to be a big deal in the expensive, high-bandwidth world of online video.

Copyright issues and DRM: Bahhh… copyright, schmopyright. This stuff bores me to tears. All I can say is that if you think the TV networks and movie studios have their knickers in a knot, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Expect the TV giants to move first, as short clips are easily visible and prominent on many websites which makes for an easy case in court. Next, the studios will make a push against P2P networks and torrent sites. I expect this to be much less successful as it is less visible, hence harder to combat.

Companies to watch (or watch out) for:

…to name a few. You can add your up-and-comers to the list…

Some of my predictions (oh boy):

  • YouTube will succumb to the same fate of Napster; no more illegal content kids.
  • Joost will get bought over by a large TV network, further adding to the wealth of Zennstrom and Friis.
  • Bandwidth will get cheaper, bittorenting will continue to grow, and more and more TV shows will be available for streaming online (these are my obvious predictions).

In this booming online industry, timing and execution will be key to a successful campaign… mixed in with a wee bit of luck.

Joost Invitations

Wednesday, March 7th, 2007

Joost logoOver the past week, Joost has provided me with 4 BETA invitations to send out. As I already had a list of people, they were quickly dispatched. However, I expect to receive more in the very near future. So, if you are interested in trying out this innovative, new Internet TV tool, please e-mail me or drop your e-mail in the comments (in some form of counter-SPAM method, i.e. aidanhenry-(AT)-hotmail-(DOT)-com for example).

For those unfamiliar with Joost, it is the new project of Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis. These are the geniuses who brought us KaZaa, followed by Skype. Their new venture promises to change the way we view video on the net and revolutionize TV forever.

For more info, view my previous posts on the company:

Tracking Your Comments

Tuesday, March 6th, 2007

Conversation BubbleIf you’re like me, you always seem to have an opinion on everything. For this very reason, I love comments. Every so often I read a blog post that either stimulates my brain in an unexpected fashion or angers me to no end. At this point, I feel a need to express myself to the author and/or other readers. Others experience the same feeling. Hence the need for comments.

But there is a fundamental problem with the system. Comments are extremely hard to track on the net. You can either bookmark the page or try to remember the given post. But how hard is that? Nearly impossible. But yet, you want to know if the author responds to your reply… or better yet, another reader has something to add to the ongoing discussion. Once again, if you’re like me, you’re dropping comments all over the net, like Fat Albert drops bombs at a chili-eating contest. Errr… something like that.

Let’s try another example: if you were to randomly hand out a couple hundred business cards at a conference, then try to remember who you gave them to, I would wager that it would be difficult to say the least. And now for the informercial…

Comments were hard to track UNTIL now!

Ambitious entrepreneurs saw the need for a tool could that could help blog readers keep track of their comments. From this vision, several start-ups were born - the most notable being CoComment, Commentful, and co.mments.

These sites allow a user to sign in and quickly and easily view all current discussions and commenting activity in one place. No need to surf to all the given blog posts anymore. An aggregate area facilitates the process.Very cool, very easy. In most cases, tracking a comment thread requires nothing more than a single click, or perhaps just simply submitting the comment.

The three main services listed above also provide various other features such as tagging, sharing, and exploring the community. But at the end of the day, they all assume the role of a simple, comment-tracking tool.

I personally use CoComment as it came recommended by a colleague, although I’d imagine the other two aforementioned services will get the job done as well.

If you comment a lot, these tools will be your saviour. No more scavenger hunts… 

The Open ID Dilemma

Thursday, March 1st, 2007

OpenID logoVery recently, open IDs seem to be the hot topic. As the new web evolves and the Internet becomes more decentralized and democratized, such a system was inevitable. It has simply taken longer than many experts predicted. In any case, it is starting to make a strong case, as Internet giants AOL and Yahoo are implementing the framework.

Once again, this may be a great time to tap the old user-edited encyclopedia for a definition. Wikipedia defines OpenID as “a decentralized system to verify one’s online identity”. A pretty simple definition for a fairly complicated system and concept.

Popular sites that have integrated the system include LiveJournal, Zooomr, Wikitravel, and Jyte.

All is fine and dandy right? Not quite. With every new successful trend or system, there is a downside. Cyber-criminals and malicious Internet users are just salivating at the future possibilities.

If only one log-in and password is needed for all sites, access is not only easy for the user, but also for the criminal should he/she be able to attain such information. Immediately, the thief would have access to all sites which use the OpenID format. The potential consequences for the user are astronomical. Credit card numbers, personal information, bank records, and other information-sensitive documents could quicky and easily be stolen and leveraged in mischievous ways.

In the current state of the net, users acquire different user names and passwords for each individual social network, photo/video site, e-mail account, etc… Although this is more complicated and time-intensive, it hedges the user’s bets should a criminal acquire the leaked log-in information and credentials.

I don’t believe I need to go into fine or further details about the potential wrong-doings and mishaps that could arise if the informatin reaches the wrong hands. The point is simple though. The easier and more functional across different platforms for the user, the same goes for the criminal. The biggest strength of the system is also its ultimate demise. Protective barriers and safeguards will need to be implemented on some level to prevent an information crisis. How this will be accomplished is beyond me. But I’m no security expert.

The official site can be found at To learn more about the specifics and details of open IDs, read this Wikipedia article.