Online video lures 73 million Americans during July

16 08 2007

Stats from Nielsen//Netratings for July reveal 73 million unique visits from U.S. internet users to online video sites. 75% of the audience visited YouTube, taking 55 million hits, up from 51 million in June.

MySpace had 18 million hits, Google Video 16 million, AOL Video 15 million and Yahoo! Video 14 million.





Yahoo! overhauls online video

3 08 2007

Yahoo! is to revamp video across its site by year end, say Bloomberg. Music videos, movie trailers, television shows and sports highlights are among the features that will be available on the new site, in a move aimed at attracting more video-hungry users to Yahoo!

Currently Yahoo! share of online video traffic in the U.S. is just 4.6% (vs. Google/YouTube accounting for 21.6% and Fox/MySpace taking 8.1% of traffic).

This Bear Sterns briefing note on Yahoo!, suggests the company focus its activity on social networks, in order to build site stickiness. It also notes that social networks now account for 60% of global online traffic.





LonelyGirl15 takes a final bow

3 08 2007

The finale of LonelyGirl15 screens today and MySpace has bagged an exclusive 12-hour premiere window. The site will also offer compressed catch-up minisodes for those who want to recap on the backstory.

The exclusive window builds on an earlier experiment by MySpace, aiming to build appointment-to-view online. From April-June MySpace featured premiere episodes of Prom Queen, created by Michael Eisner’s Vuguru. Again, episodes were made available exclusively to MySpace for the first 12 hours.






DailyMotion inks content deal with RDF USA

28 07 2007

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Video sharing site DailyMotion is to license programming from independent producer RDF USA notes the Hollywood Reporter via Reuters.

RDF USA is the stateside off-shoot of the UK indie company best known for making inventive use of the space / time continuum during the British Queen’s photo shoot with Annie Liebovitz, disgracing the BBC. In the UK its hit TV shows have included Wife Swap, while its US subsidiary has produced commissions such as  Shaq’s Big Challenge for ABC. In February 2007, RDF established a digital unit, tasked with the creation of content intended for internet distribution.

Meanwhile, Daily Motion had 37.5 million unique users worldwide and 3.2 million in the U.S. in May and out-performed YouTube in its home countryof France

“YouTube dwarfs DailyMotion in the U.S., but its 4.7 million streamers (which translates to people who actually watch videos as opposed to just visiting) in April led other indie dot-com comers, including MetaCafe and Break.com, according to comScore Media Metrix,” said the report.

“While it will clearly be very difficult for any video site to replicate what YouTube has accomplished, DailyMotion.com is stating the strongest case at the moment, both domestically and internationally,” Erin Hunter, executive vp media and entertainment solutions at comScore, told the Hollywood Reporter.

DailyMotion is but the latest social network seeking to ramp up its selection of professionally-produced content; MySpace and Crackle (formerly Grouper) have announced similar initiatives during the past fortnight.





Fox, MySpace raise the game on web video

27 07 2007

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MySpace and US broadcast net Fox have teamed with The Producers Guild of America for ‘The Storyteller Challenge’, a scheme which is billed to give up-and-coming filmmakers their own showcase on MySpace plus, for the best two entries, US $25K and development deal with Fox.

As posted previously, this mirrors a similar move by Sony’s newly re-christened social network Crackle.

Depending on which way you want to see it, it’s either a deeply cynical ploy by all concerned to squeeze more for less out of aspiring filmmakers, or a democratisation of opportunity for the next gen of talent.

In any event, the aim to raise the bar of their respective offers with more polished content can’t be entirely unrelated to a couple of recent pieces of research, such as this week’s Pew/Internet Online Video study, which indicate growing consumer preference for professionally-produced (vs. ‘amateur’) content. It’s also interesting to witness further evidence of the trend for the best produced-for-web content having the potential to make the leap on to TV.





Hey, let’s be careful out there

25 07 2007

You can’t get a clearer statement that social networks are representative of all parts of society than the revelation that among MySpace users in the US are 29,000 convicted sex offenders — and that’s presumably just the ones who’ve told the truth about their digital identities.

According to the report, Attorney General Roy Cooper is calling for state legislation which will mandate parental consent for children joining any of the social network sites. This naturally assumes parents know enough about how the internet works in order to be able to make such informed decisisons.

I’ve never forgotten how it got drummed into me as a little ‘un that you should be wary of strangers – yet trust is so often taken for granted online – and parents presumably think that if their kids are tapping away from the safety of home, this is safe.

It’s a thorny problem to tackle and one which I don’t believe legislation is the answer to. The online industry as a whole – from content providers through to ISPs – could be doing more to educate users, of all ages, about the risks inherent to interacting with others on the web. Watch this space for when government agencies make a greater play of the mass of personal data Google stores on all its users.

Stepping back a level further, we could ask ourselves some more searching questions about being better parents full stop (and you won’t find the answers in any manual or FAQs).

Sgt. Phil Esterhaus of the Hill Street precinct couldn’t have expressed it any better…





Chinese video sharing site targets > 30s

17 07 2007

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When it comes to social networks, most press coverage is devoted to the usual suspects: MySpace, YouTube, etc. So interesting to see the latest stats from the world’s most populated country, China.

According to figures for the first half of 2007, youku.com is gaining market share over domestic competitors. However, unlike equivalent offers from market leader Tudou (dubbed China’s answer to YouTube), and western counterparts, youku is seeking to differentiate itself by targeting > 30s (including appropriately skewed content), a market which it believes is more lucrative. 

In common with the rest of the online video sector, agnostic of geography, 2007 will prove to be a year of consolidation: “There may be no more than five operators in the market by the second half of 2007 and no more than three players by next year,” said Mr. Victor Koo, CEO of Youku.com. “We are starting to see the turning point in this space.”





Sony hopes to give Grouper some Crackle

17 07 2007

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Sony might’ve spent US $65 million acquiring social networking site Grouper, but since completing the deal last August, the site has struggled against titans such as YouTube and MySpace. Sony’s solution? A re-brand to Crackle and re-position of the site with an emphasis on more polished content from “emerging filmmaking talent”.

Sony promises payments, development deals and meetings with Hollywood execs for the best films submitted; as well as the opportunity for the very best to make the leap to TV screens via Sony’s TV channels.

The re-vamp offers content segmented into 12 ‘channels’ including animation, comedy short films, music, horror and “stories from real firefighters”. Just goes to prove that differentiation in this market takes priority over the legion of me-too offers.





Online video performance stats: June 2007

12 07 2007

AOL Video has outperformed MySpace during June, according to Nielsen/NetRatings stats for June, but the competition don’t even hit the halfway mark when it comes to YouTube’s performance.

Rankings:

1. YouTube (51 million unique visits)

2. Google Video (18 million)

3. AOL Video (16 million)

4. (=) Yahoo! Video & MySpace (15 million each)





Social networks and the social divide

30 06 2007

“A long-term research project has revealed a sharp division along class lines among the American teenagers flocking to the social network sites,” reports BBC News. Citing research by PhD student Danah Boyd from the School of Information Sciences at UC Berkeley, the study suggests “those using Facebook come from wealthier homes and are more likely to attend college. By contrast, MySpace users tend to get a job after finishing high school rather than continue their education.”

“Ms Boyd also found far more teens from immigrant, Latino and Hispanic families on MySpace as well as many others who are not part of the “dominant high school popularity paradigm”.

“MySpace has most of the kids who are socially ostracised at school because they are geeks, freaks, or queers,” Ms Boyd said.