Your Content or No Content – Web 2.0 fights begin!

March 16, 2007

Update: Should have been more clear in the post. Splashcast’s core product isn’t  100% dependent on third-party video, you can use many media types to create and syndicate your own channel.  It’s pretty cool and pretty powerful stuff.

Techcrunch reports that Grouper, the online video service owned by Sony, issued a C&D today to Searchles in a Washington D.C. based start-up that is essentially a social search engine that lets you bookmark, tag, etc. things you like. They also show videos leeched from others through their own video player, and thats what caught Grouper’s attention.

There are a ton of start-ups that re-broadcast videos found on YouTube, Revver, etc. but do it through their own skinned video player, removing the originating site’s player functionality, branding, and sometimes even the watermark! It’s the easiest way to get your very own YouTube up and running and without any bandwidth costs because the video hosting and costs stay with the originating site.

Great idea if you aren’t staking a business on it. Bad idea if its your core product. My advice to start-ups is: If the core of your product depends on someone else letting you leech their service then you have no business.

Obviously common sense and not a revelation, but it amazes me at how many companies think that they can sustain a product when they are 100% dependant on someone else letting them use what isn’t theirs. A few examples are AdBrite’s InVideo product, Splashcast, PeekVid, and Cut‘s video editing. Although they are great ideas and services, they are based on leeching video that isn’t theirs. So, unless the hope is of a re-broadcast license from YouTube, then they run the risk of being out of business tomorrow.

Hey, YouTube. Want to make money and get those elusive re-broadcast licenses you need to stay alive? Re-license your content! Your welcome for the thought…now go work out the legal issues 🙂

I’m Joostin’

March 7, 2007

I’ve been lucky enough to be one of the beta testers of Joost and I love it.  Joost represents the future of television, or at least a long way towards getting to what television will evolve to be – a 100% on demand, consumer controlled, interactive, social experience.  If you haven’t heard by now, Joost is the next great innovation from the team that brought us Kazaa and Skype.  It’s in beta now but they’re working hard to get great content for the service.

All content on Joost is from studios not user-generated (like traditional television), and distribution is through P2P.  At the moment, content on Joost is from specialty channels or programs (National Geographic, World’s Strongest Man, etc.), but a recent deal with Viacom should greatly improve the quality of programs and boost the popularity draw.

What makes Joost special is that you can choose what channel and what program you want to watch at any time, take advantage of interactive capabilities for each channel, and chat and socialize with other users in real time! The intent is to bring the social element of the web to television and it looks like they’ve taken a great first step. 

There are 5 second advertising clips before and after shows and that looks to be a first step towards monetization. I’m not sure this will be enough of a attention-grabbing mechanism for advertisers, or provide enough revenue share to draw major content channels (although the Viacom deal is a promising sign – which I knew what the terms are!).  It will be interesting to see what the revenue model becomes when Joost officially launches. 

One thing is clear, as is a constant theme on this blog – as television evolves, and the consumer wins!