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Online Video Goes To The Next Level

Dec 18, 2006  •  Post A Comment

During the past 12 months, consumers have proven they have a voracious appetite for online video. In anticipation of the continued high consumption of Web video next year, a host of companies this month started introducing new tools that should smooth the road for consumers to create and post more polished videos online next year.

The rapid introduction of these new tools and services suggests that the next phase of the online video revolution will center on the refinement of Internet video. That’s because the market leaders have firmly staked their claims as the most popular online video destinations, and it’s hard to imagine a new player threatening the position of YouTube or MySpace, with their massive reach.

New entrants are aiming instead to ride alongside the big guns, serving their users with new tools. Broadband portal Gotuit introduced a service last week that enables easier marking and tagging of Web video; One True Media snagged a deal with NBC to help users create and submit their own videos to the network’s new daytime talk show “iVillageLive” starting this month; and YouTube recently introduced a feature that lets users create chat rooms in which to share their videos with others in real time. In other examples of the trend toward services that help users either sift through or better edit online video, players such as StupidVideos and ClipBlast came into the video search business in late 2006, laying the groundwork for a more competitive video search marketplace next year.

Online video usage has exploded. In August, U.S. Internet users initiated nearly 7 billion video streams, with the average streamer consuming about two videos each day, according to audience measurement service comScore. The leading Web destination for online video that month was the Fox Interactive group (owner of MySpace) with 1.4 billion streams, or 20 percent of the market. The Yahoo sites delivered 823 million streams, or about 12 percent, and YouTube served 688 million streams, or nearly 10 percent.

Creating Video Makers

But only a fraction of those Internet viewers are actually creating videos. So the new players want to entice online viewers to now become makers and more refined purveyors of online video. That’s where Gotuit aims to compete. Gotuit, best known as a broadband and video-on-demand portal, last week introduced SceneMaker, software that lets users tag existing clips on the Web to pass along to friends or to post on a Web site or blog. That means a user could mark, for instance, the funniest few seconds from Danny DeVito’s recent appearance on “The View” from the clips posted on most viral video sites.

Gotuit CEO Mark Pascarella refers to SceneMaker as a “social video tagging application.” He said, “Every day the problem of finding what you want grows and grows exponentially. We try to present content in a way that’s easier to find what you want. Any Web user can use the application to point to specific parts of a video file.” The video still plays from the originating site, but the edited scene is delivered by Gotuit technology so viewers see only that edited scene.

One True Media operates in the same business. It’s an editing tool that lets Web users more easily assemble and create videos. “I wanted people to take a set of clips they have shot, and remove the shots of the ceiling and floor and compose that very rapidly into something that could be seen and shared with others,” said Mark Moore, CEO of the company, which powers the user-generated video submissions for NBC’s “iVillage Live.”

YouTube recently introduced a feature that lets users create a “YouTube room to watch and interact with others while sharing videos,” YouTube said on its site. The service is called YouTube Streams and essentially lets Web users create chat rooms where everyone in attendance can share videos. Online site ClipSync offers a similar service, a video screening room to make watching and sharing video online a more social experience.