UPDATE Guest Writer Guy Nesher – What Went Wrong With Stage6?

DivX announced they are turning Stage6 into a separate company. This decision will affect Stage6 operation. Let’s see how Stage6 fared against its competitors in the past months.

I used Alexa to compare Stage6, Veoh and DailyMotion. These companies aim to provide high quality and well produced original content – unlike the one time hits which YouTube made its fame by.

The comparison showed that while DailyMotion is leading the charts, ranking 51, Veoh is closing the gap with a rank of 130. Stage6 is trailing behind with a score of 18,809. Please refer to the end of the post for an updated ranking of Stage6


I was surprised to see that while Stage6 offers better user experience by providing both higher quality video and the ability to download and share it, the company still trail behind its competitors.

What did go wrong for Stage6?

My first guess was that Stage6 uses a stricter copyright regime than its competitors. As copyright material is a major attraction to online video consumers, lack of it can explain the relatively low Alexa ranking. In order to validate this assumption I checked the number of Stage6 links which appear in Alluc and Tvlinks, two of the biggest link sites for copyright material.

However this reasoning failed once I checked the Alexa score of these sites. They both scored much lower than DailyMotion and Veoh. This means that even if all their links were directed to Stage6, it would still not be able to match the ranks of its competitors – Copyright material is not the sole reason for the difference.

Here are some of the factors that can explain it:

1. The Divx Codec – while providing superior quality with lower file size, DivX is not as wide spread as Flash format. As a result, publishers find it harder to upload movies – Stage6 only accept DivX encoded content and most editing software does not support this codec. Users on the other hand are asked to download the codec in order to view the movies and while this technically happens with flash as well, the majority of users will already have flash pre-installed.

2. Revenue share – Stage6 currently does not offer revenue share for movie producers who use its service. As today Internet video producers relay on the income from these commercials, Stage6 becomes less attractive.

3. Small Community – Among the companies we examined Stage6 is the newest in the field. Adding this to the lack of significant PR doesn’t allow the community to grow fast enough. Therefore Stage6 community did not reach a critical mass – which leads directly to churn.

4. Demographics – It seems as though demographics is playing a bigger role than one would expect in the world of Video streaming. 50% of DailyMotion viewers come from France (Dailymotion is a French company). As Dailymotion is the biggest company we examine in this post one has to wonder, did Dailymotion succeeded in carving out a new niche in its home country or were the French viewers always more enthusiastic than the rest of us. If Dailymotion was able to create a market in France, or at least expand it in a magnitude there might be something to say about the marketing of its competitors.

Whether Stage6’s main goal is to advance Divx technology, or to become a player in the video sharing market, its number one goal has to be users – viewers and producers alike.

Divx decision to separate Stage6 from its main company may represent an interesting shift in the way Stage6 will operate, the question is – will Divx allow its subsidiary company to stop promoting its codec and start promoting new content.

* Update Several readers noted that the Alexa rank displayed for Stage6 refers to www.stage6.com while Stage6 main address is stage6.divx.com which scores substantially higher in Alexa (227). I’d like to thank my readers for paying attention to this issue, and notifying me about it. How does that affect my previous assumptions?

Without getting into too much technicalities stage6.divx.com is considered a “sub domain” of divx.com. Since Alexa does not track sub domains the result we receive for stage6.divx.com actually represent the cumulative ranking of two sites – divx.com and stage6.com.

How inaccurate is the ranking of stage6.divx.com? Again using Alexa we can see that only 81% of the DivX.com users actually visit stage6. While we cannot determine exactly how this will affect the Stage6 ranking we can estimate that roughly 2 (out of 10) million users reported to have visited Stage6 on July were actually DivX visitors.

While both ranking methods do not yield accurate results, even if we use the more favorable results of stage6.divx.com it is still that Stage6 is trailing behind its competitors. This is another proof that quality alone is not a key consideration of internet video consumers.

Technorati Tags: DivX, dailymotion, stage6, veoh, video sharing, alexa, Guy Nesher, codec

Guy Nehser is an independent web and SEO consultant , anime addict , and a LV70 Druid, who just cleared SSC. He can be reached at nesher.guy@gmail.com


10 Responses to “UPDATE Guest Writer Guy Nesher – What Went Wrong With Stage6?”

  1. 1 Sorosh Tavakoli August 9, 2007 at 12:33 am

    Nice post. I tried myself to upload some content on Stage6 and couldn’t make it work. I tried converting two different type of files and still it didn’t work.

    But I have to agree that it is odd that the superior viewing experience hasn’t really attracted the big audience. I think this seperation will, exacly as you point out, lead to the site focusing more on the viewers rather than the codec.

    I’d really like to see Stage6 hit big. That’d be good for the whole online video market. So I wish them good luck and hope they can get things going again!


  2. 2 Kfir Pravda August 9, 2007 at 5:34 am

    Sorosh, Thanks for your comment. I wonder if they manage to do such a shift, especially when the online video sharing is so crowded

  3. 3 lw August 9, 2007 at 7:29 pm

    Just to let you know, you should look at stage6.com based on DivX.com for your alexa rating because it is actually stage6.divx.com.

  4. 4 Ben August 9, 2007 at 11:27 pm

    It is not possible to use Alexa to do an accurate comparison of Stage6’s traffic. Since alexa doesn’t show tracking data by subdomain, there is no difference between stage6.divx.com and divx.com. Neither is a fair to compare to Veoh or DailyMotion as divx.com has a significant amount other traffic not related directly to Stage6.

    That being said, I think the biggest barrier to entry for Stage6 is the need to download software to watch their video. No matter how simple you make that process, many users either CAN’T or WON’T do it.

  5. 5 Kfir Pravda August 10, 2007 at 5:40 pm

    Ben and LW, thanks a lot for your comments- it was the reason for our update

  6. 6 Jon Burg August 28, 2007 at 9:32 pm

    The power behind Stage6 and the divx platform is incredible. Veoh is worlds ahead of both YouTube and DailyMotion in streaming quality, download capabilities and buffer times. The divx platform is even better!

    Divx has been populated largely by digital pirates, p2p networks, and hackers. It’s still ahead of the mainstream market, so I wouldn’t write them off just yet. If they could get a cross platform capable DRM solution implimented divx could very well be the future of digital video, both professional and UGC. Just take a look at http://www.joox.net (warning – these are mostly pirated video assets) and look at the quality of these clips. The community is powerful, and contributive. The content, speed and capabilities are unmatched.

    And the divx format works on almost all digital media players if you just change the .divx file extension to .avi. It’s as simple as deleting the extension and changing it to avi – and wham, all of this content lives on your avi capable player – including apple tv, ipod, zen pmp and more!

    I wouldn’t write off the future because there isn’t traffic in the present. I would look at the capabilities, look at the interface, look at the early adopter trends and examine future prospects.

  7. 7 Kfir Pravda August 29, 2007 at 10:44 am

    Jon, thanks for your comment. One point to clarify – we don’t say that they don’t stand a chance – we are only saying they did poorly, and that the quality alone isn’t enough to generate traffic.

  8. 8 Jon Burg August 29, 2007 at 4:09 pm

    Kfir, couldn’t agree more. The marketing behind divx was poor, but their product is freaking amazing!

  1. 1 Stage6 To Be Closed - Not a Huge Surprise « Pravda on Media, Technology, and Rebel Filmmaking Trackback on February 25, 2008 at 8:44 pm

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