What do you think about YouTube and other video sharing sites?

    by Mark Glaser
    May 12, 2006

    Viral video sites seem to be multiplying like rabbits these days. The idea is that you can upload your digital video to show the world, then people can watch them, comment on them, email them to friends, and spoof them. The most popular of these sites is YouTube, with the motto “Broadcast Yourself.” YouTube says it serves up 40 million video clips per day. Wow. But there’s plenty of competition from sites such as MetaCafe and Revver. (Check out this great review from DV Guru of 10 video-sharing services.)

    So I’m curious what you think about YouTube. Is it a grand waste of time or a great way to share your video with friends, family and the world. What are its strengths and weaknesses? Or do you prefer other video-sharing sites? Why? Share your thoughts below and I’ll post a selection of the best ones in next week’s Your Take Roundup.

    • I love the idea of people being able to post videos to the web to share with people. Trying to e-mail them or have people download them is too problematic due to the large file sizes.

      As for what site I use, I opted for IFilm.com because I like the look and feel of the interface and the site.

    • While fully understanding it totally disregards copyrights, YouTube has allowed me to see many music videos and moments (The Kinks’ Waterloo Sunset, Abba’s Eurovision performance of “Waterloo” that turned them into international superstars, the Beatles complete Rain and Paperback Writer video, Sparks playing “This Town Ain’t Big Enough” for the first time on Top of the Pops – all musical moments I had only read about but never got to see and that despite all the DVDs, etc, I’ve never seen them included and have wanted to see for a good part of my life. Having visited Lithuania in August 1991, I finally got to see footage from a Lithuanian TV documentary on the Soviet clampdown in Vilnius earlier that year as well as Latvia’s Eurovision competition from Riga TV earlier this year – it’s nice to be able to get a taste of my Latvian heritage.

    • I think it’s inevitable that YouTube’s hold on this market is weakened a bit. Youtube sort of serves two functions right now:

      (1) It is a discovery/viral video engine. People are posting videos on Youtube to get attention, publicize their band/issue, etc. There is a market for that.

      (2) Some people are also using Youtube to simply share videos with family/friends. A sort of Flickr for videos. There is a market for that too.

      I think it is inevitable that competitors chip away at use #2. As the space grows, features like video downloading, editing, mass storage, higher quality, etc. will become more important to people and competitors will gain market share by focusing on these features. Youtube’s sheer size will prevent these sort of innovations from being fiscally possible.

      Being smaller (and potentially charging a sall fee) will be an advantage for the upstarts.

    • There is still a large number of people (like me) that can’t access this stuff as there is no broadband available. (sigh)

      I’d love to be able to see this stuff!

    • As a competitor within the video clip sharing space to YouTube let me clearly state – you(Tube) are kicking our ass. Sincere deserved kudos. You(tube) have only validated the vastness the online video space represents – it is HUGE. Thank you. However, it is still only IN the FIRST quarter of the game. There is much to be decided in the coming months – years. It is going to be a great adventure. Innovation -creativity – these will be the key to long term success. What is possible? Anything – Everything. Just some examples –



    • I think that YouTube and its peers are sign posts to the future rather than necessarily the future itself as the price of bandwidth and storage tends towards zero.

      For starters YouTube is supposed to be burning through roughly 1 milliion USD per month on storage to keep up with demand, yet YouTube is actually more limited than its competition like Veoh Networks since it only allows video uploads with a maximum size of 100MB. Some competitors like Veoh are using P2P technologies to reduce this financial impact further

      I like the way that YouTube allows you to embed video in your blog entries or MySpace pages, so allowing the service to spread via word-of-mouth.

      Where the challenges lie:
      – Whilst there is lots of cool content there, I am sure there is lots content that lawyered-up companies like Apple Corp. or organisation like the MPAA and RIAA would feel should not be there. How do these sites keep their viewers without becoming legal roadkilll a la Shawn Fanning’s Napster?
      – No one has really managed to satisfactorily do video search to the same level of relevance as text search, though many of the main players are trying to utilise meta-tagging. I haven’t found material on YouTube yet, but have usually discovered material via recommendations on peoples blogs or when I’ve had links sent to me via instant messaging or email.
      – Marketers will be very quick to latch on to these services as a way of distributing messages, but be very reluctant to pay for it
      – Development of a satisfactory business model. Though I love Veoh Networks for instance, I suspect that the company is more of a testing ground for future ideas on behalf of major investors Time Warner and Michael Eisner rather than a future business a la Google or eBay
      – If we lose network neutrality, port blocking and throttling by telecoms companies will seriously damage these businesses, especially as telecoms companies are under the illusion that they are anything more than ultility companies and are looking to be content providers or purveyors of ‘value-added’ services again
      – Consumer finite entertainment budget: Media companies are contstantly coming up with new ways to sell us old products (preferably by renting them to us via subscription services. The amount of incomes now absorbed by the information economy outstrips groceries, heating, electricity, healthcare and clothing. Old fashioned live events like the opera and a pop concert cost an eye watering 50 cents and 1.25 USD per minute of entertainment. Given consumer debt levels and increased cost-of-living expenses for home energy and transportation is this a realistic assumption moving forward?
      – Finally academics think (and I am inclined to agree with them) that 360 degree to music ‘devalues it’ in the eyes of consumers, will YouTube and its peers have the same effect for video content? And how will this affect consumers attitudes towards the purchase of ALL audio visual content?

    • i started making fifteen second videos on my mobile phone a little over a month ago to entertain my girlfriend. i am a trained actor, and am a prefesional improvisor, so convention comes naturaly to me. i decided to discipline myself to making one new movie on my phone a day, as a way to stay creative and thinking. it was after i made this a goal that i discovered YOUtube. i upload all my movies on YOUtube and myspace. i am amazed at how many people actully watch these. i think it’s cool. it does seem that these sites are not the best at controlling the copyrighted material. they do have text that clearly sates that you are not supposed to post copyrighted material but that dosen’t stop it. when there is a rule to break someone will do it. that’s life. all in all these type of sites have allowed me to see some little movies that have been more satifying than your average sitcom. i believe this will just compound the evergroing list of things to do infront of a screen. is it the wave of the future? it won’t take over TV but it’s not goig away either. at least that’s what one guy from middle america thinks.

    • Yael

      While many of the video sharing websites have juicy videos to watch during work and in the five minutes’ free time one has over the weekend, the only site I have found that eliminates garbage is Metacafe.com, because of its audience-generated content. The good videos bubble up and I find I don’t have to search endlessly for an incredible video.

      Metacafe.com has the video “Run Escape Jump”, incredible special effects of a martial arts expert escaping from the bad guys by making incredible jumps from building to building.

    • Cynthia

      Video Sharing is in its infancy (see comment above). YouTube has done a great job of capturing the youth market and getting lots of eyeballs, but the one-to-many model is just the beginning. The prevelance of online communities that are focused on a shared interest (ex: surfing) or shared reality (ex: parenting) are a currently untapped market for video sharing capabilities. Sites like http://www.ClipShack.com for the boomers are starting to see even more significant traction as the market grows. Not everyone wants to see or share video in a mass marketplace like YouTube. But its great that they are breaking ground and making UGC a household term!

    • Hi Mark,

      YouTube has been a great research tool for me.

      I’ve been able to post examples of ethnic dance and music on my site that readers never would’ve found on their own.

      It is addictive but once you figure out how to search without wasting time on adolescent party vids, YouTube is a wonderful thing!



      Editor/ Photographer
      root Magazine

    • Ultimate Tube (http://www.ultimatetube.com ) is definitely the future of Christian Social Networking.

      I must say that they have definitely taken the Social Networking platform by the horns.

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