Just when we thought the world of digital technology was coming to its senses by developing for the obvious, we realize, in the digital development space, we have a long way to go.
Case in point; the democratization of the Video Web. First lets define what we mean by “The Video Web”.
A brief history. From 1995-2005, the web was in its infancy. Web pages led to web sites and the gold rush was on. Startups like Yahoo took the early lead by recognizing the importance of organizing these web sites, which were coming online faster than humans could absorb, and making them easy to find and access. e-commerce grew up as brands, old but mostly new, saw the benefits of access to gazillions of people across the world which led to exponential growth in sales and reduced overhead (as in, no requirement for cost-prohibitive brick-and-mortar). Amazon and e-bay come to mind as the big winners in e-commerce.
The first decade of the web was like the wild west, but of worldwide proportion. Just about everyone became a user, and almost everyone, it seemed, sought to become a contributor, seller, consumer or land owner.
By 2005, the web was ready to take on new meaning as two significant developments became known to the mainstream. In the 10 years since the web browser was first introduced, the innovation and infrastructure to support the growth and capabilities of the world-wide network was relentless. And as user adoption/participation was growing exponentially, new use cases involving sharing, communicating and “showing off” became enormously popular amongst young people between the ages of 12 and 24; and with MySpace, the Social Media phenomenon was born. Similarly, and perhaps with as much impact, video took on an entirely new use case, as YouTube made uploading and watching video simple, and with the social-ness of sharing, video was set to explode.
Since 2005, the video web has become the fastest growing video distribution platform the world has ever known and a minefield of video producers, distributors, advertisers and technology enablers seeking to reach viewers. Conversely, the user adoption numbers are staggering. According to comScore, 183 million U.S. Internet users watched online video during the month of May 2010 and YouTube.com achieved record levels of viewing activity with an all-time high of 14.6 billion videos viewed, surpassing the threshold of 100 videos per viewer for the first time. Add to this, according to Will Richmond/VideoNuze, a hearty appetite of 18 financings in Q2 for private video-related companies raising more than $247.1 million, and it is clear investors are bullish on the video sector.
So what is it that leads us to believe that something is missing? Especially since everyone agrees that the video web is so vibrant and vital? To us it’s simply this; what good is the video web, as fragmented and vast as it is, until we have a simple, organized and thorough means for a business model that benefits all the stakeholders? It’s an interesting problem that must be solved before we can actually expect to see real prosperity and benefits from the video revolution. Regrettably, we aren’t seeing the money going toward solving this problem.
What are you seeing? More thoughts on solving this problem to come in Part 2.