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– ABC.com stats are out in the open
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Kfir Pravda And Friends Cutting Through The Hype
Video sharing sites are all around the place. Since YouTube fame, everyone are trying to create portals that will capitalize on online video consumption growth.
But, at the end of the day, most market players are offering vast amount of content to their viewers – all in the name of content democratization.
Open and honest, I am a bit tired of that. I don’t want a lot of content – only good content. I don’t need another portal with tons of video clips – I want only the ones that worth something.
The area of content discovery is very complex, and I’ve written about it in the past. There is still a lot to be done in this direction.
But, is there a room for a site with only 10 shows, but all of them amazing (like Something To Be Desired and We Need Girlfriends)? Is there a place for a destination with high quality content only – the best of web shows? In other words, does it make sense to create a brand that only broadcast the best shows, and is a sign of quality, just like HBO logo is for me?
What’s YOUR opinion?
I have to admit that I have a weak spot for Blip. Unlike most companies, they are really out there with the community. Though derived from a clear business agenda, it is still impressive to see their commitment to this segment.
Furthermore, while Blip could have taken the popular direction of viral user generated content, they focused on mid tail, semi professional and professional episodic content. Add that to the fact that there is no copyright infringing material on their site – and you have a different kind of player in the saturated video sharing market.
In our call we reviewed the new player, which allows viewers to watch episodes of their favorite shows in one flow. This feature give a TV like experience to viewers, or as Justin Day, Blip’s CTO, noted, let people fall asleep in front of Blip – does anyone need something more than that for TV experience?
Blip also released a new ad product that adds a non intrusive ad to the lower part of the video feed:
Blip are in a very competitive market. With Veoh new products out there, new video sharing sites launching by the day, and no clear technology advantage to any of the main market players, it is hard to forecast who will win the market.
However, as Dina (who had her Bat Mitzvah at Masada) said: “we believe the key is to stay humble, work with the community, and learn from others”.
In a market where technology doesn’t provide competitive advantage, this down to earth approach might well be the key to Blip’s success.
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.
Guy Nehser is an independent web and SEO consultant , anime addict , and a LV70 Druid, who just cleared SSC. He can be reached at email@example.com
Blip.TV, NYC based private company focused on content delivery and revenue distribution with creators, just raised more cash for their operation.
The round was led by Ambient Sound Investments from Skype fame, which noted the narrow focus of Blip as a major differentiation form other video sharing sites – as blip are not approaching the viral market.
I’ve met Dina Kaplan, Blip.tv COO and was impressed with her commitment to the creators. She also gave some good points re the direction the market is heading, with a mix of off site ads and sponsorships.
However, focus doesn’t come for free, as this graph, comparing Blip.TV visitors to Veoh, geared also toward viral videos, shows that Blip has significantly less unique visitors and grows slower than Veoh.
I hope that Blip will have deep enough pockets to continue with slower growth than the viral market, but more loyal viewers and creators.
My friend Chris wrote an insightful article in killerapp about the role of meta-aggregator in the online video market. The story is simple – there is a major problem today for both content creators and viewers – find something good to see. There are a lot of shows, and it is hard to find the good ones (and I’ve blogged a lot about what’s good for me – though not sure it is right for every one). Meta aggregator (like Network2) are solving this problem by being both platform agnostic (meaning that you can find there content from Blip.tv, Veoh, YouTube etc) and getting rating from users and editorial team in order to find good shows.
Being platform agnostic is a key issue in my opinion. The market is not dominated by a major platform yet, so from viewers and content creators point of view there is a need to both consume and distribute media across all platforms. Also, inclusion of main stream media shows in these sites is crucial, as it will help smaller content creators to be found (people who are looking for the latest 24 episode will also see indie production based on their taste).
How can these companies make money in this model? Well, some meta aggregators will go the advertisement path, and some will take the distribution path.
I wonder how this segment will unfold.
In the recent months we see new ways to deliver web videos to your television. Apple TV, and Tivo’s new features are just two examples of this trend. With new Media Centers out there, we can assume that this trend will increase in both magnitude and importance.
How will it affect the world of independent content creators? I believe that this process is a double edge sword:
1 . We will see more exposure to independent content creators – as shows like Ask a Ninja and Something To Be Desired will be shown on living room TV sets, one of the major barriers of entry to these new media creators will be removed – people won’t need to watch video online, but in their regular TV. Though seems logical, I believe that this process will take some time to happen. Though Tivo users are not necessarily early adopters I still believe that it will take some time till my mother will use media center. Therefore, it is not clear how many new users will start watching web shows, as I assume that media savvy early adopters already watch them.
2. Production quality will rise – though current production quality of indie content creators is very good, when moving from small video screen in a web site to full blown TV format, things change. In the 3D animation company I had in the past, we had a clear distinction between productions for internet, mobile, television, and cinema as the effort to create high quality show is correlated with screen size in some aspects. Small details are more apparent.
3. And it will be harder to beat the competition – today most people do not expect the same level of product from internet video as they expect from television show. When users will be able to see a web show, and a minute later another episode of Studio 60 or Prison Break, their level of expectation will change, starting with script level, through actors, and general production value. This is THE major challenge for indie content creators in my opinion – as they begin to be an alternative to regular television.
4. Indie content creators will change the type of content they are creating – from short, 5-8 minutes flicks, to longer formats. The attention span in television is longer than in the internet, and people are willing to watch longer formats there. However, it might prove to be the killer of this industry. Longer formats are usually more expensive, and complicated to produce. As production cost and complexity rise, the competitive advantage of indie content creators, the ability to create quality content cheaply, is lost. Time will tell if there are enough talented creators to face the high profile, high cost productions out there. It might be that this will be the first wave of Creative Darwinism, when only the most talented content creators will survive.
How do you see it?
More to come…