How Many Video Sharing Sites Do We Need?

from the the-number-keeps-growing-and-growing-and-growing dept

There’s been a lot of joking about just how many online video sharing startups there are, with new ones coming out just about every day. However, it’s not just the little guys. While there’s been some speculation that some big media player will come along and overpay for YouTube, at least one big media player believes it can build such a site on its own. AOL is apparently launching its own video portal that will offer both free and paid-downloads. While much of the press coverage focuses on how some of the paid content will be licensed from Time Warner competitors, perhaps a more interesting tidbit is the fact that it looks like Time Warner is spreading this video portal across multiple brands. Most of the press is simply referring to this as an “AOL” property — but a News.com story talks about CNN’s video site, which we’re assuming is related (if not, then things are even more screwed up at Time Warner than we’d previously imagined). The CNN offering is designed to get people to upload newsworthy videos, which we’ve seen have been showing up in increasing frequency on other video hosting sites. If it’s true that the AOL and CNN offerings are linked, then at least it suggests someone has finally started thinking about ways to actually leverage the various brands inside the Time Warner portfolio across each other. Still, at some point, you have to wonder how much value there is in simply copying what everyone else has already done, rather than offering something that’s convincingly better and different.


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Comments on “How Many Video Sharing Sites Do We Need?”

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28 Comments
Dale (user link) says:

Re: Why not

At OVGuide, which is an online video guide, we thrive on the competition and welcome more sites, since in the end it really gives people more viewing choices. Many of the new video sites we list are niche focused on very specific areas, like cooking, sports, news, etc. The number of these types of sites are only limited by the number of subject areas of interest to the public.

However, I do see a limit to the number of general video clip sites that are really needed, since much of the same content can be found on YouTube or related sites.

Alpharocker (user link) says:

Disappointing angle

Usually I find that techdirt has some of the more intelligent discourse and a rational approach to the issue being discussed but this time I’m thoroughly disappointed. Why discourage competition? I wish MORE people would get into the video uploading site market, they eat each other alive and we are left with the best one. That is naturally how competition works. Like with livejournal, facebook, myspace, etc. The crappy ones fell off and everyone uses myspace.

Oh wait…

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Disappointing angle

Usually I find that techdirt has some of the more intelligent discourse and a rational approach to the issue being discussed but this time I’m thoroughly disappointed. Why discourage competition?

Hmm. I believe you’ve missed the point of the post (or, rather, perhaps I did a bad job explaining it).

There’s a difference between encouraging competition and discouraging useless copycats. What I said, specifically is: “you have to wonder how much value there is in simply copying what everyone else has already done, rather than offering something that’s convincingly better and different.”

That was my point. Competition should be about creating something different and better — not about playing catch up with a me too play.

Besides, the question isn’t just about encouraging competition, but wondering if AOL is wasting its time with this effort that is starting well behind many of the other, already popular sites. That can simply be a waste of resources for the entire market.

Alpharocker (user link) says:

Re: Re: Disappointing angle

@Mike

I agree that the point was missed (for one reason or another). When I read “you have to wonder how much value there is in simply copying what everyone else has already done” I guess I read it as a blanket criticism of competition within a market, which may have been a silly assumption to make.

And while I agree that companies like AOL (and Walmart ala social networking site) are going to be playing catch up in these markets, you can’t hope for alot of innovation if they don’t get in the game. Not my favorite companies, and definitely not the players they once were, but as Oblivious said, SOME people DO still use AOL on TOP of Broadband.

I’m not a business guy but IMHO, companies like AOL should just roll over and die. I mean, to my knowledge, AOL’s whole existance has been copying poorly what others have already done (EXCEPT MAYBE Instant Messenger). Their flagship product was a watered down and taped off internet, that really only sold well because of people’s lack of education. When people realized they wanted to get on the “REAL internet” AOL’s product started down the slippery slope of obsoletion. It seems to me, that is their market, finding products that already exist and co-opting them, poorly.

So, I see your point, in that they are definitely coming late to the game, and yes, they probably aren’t going to innovate, and, yes, with the Google streak going strong, it really doesn’t seem to matter if you show up late, early or not at all. But that doesn’t mean SOMEONE shouldn’t try.

Mousky (user link) says:

Competition is good

Still, at some point, you have to wonder how much value there is in simply copying what everyone else has already done, rather than offering something that’s convincingly better and different.

I have to agree with Alpharocker. Through the whole net neutrality debate you state that the lack of competition is the real issue. Here we have a sector, online video sharing, that has plenty of competition, and you are talking about value. The market will sort it out. Don’t worry, be happy.

ConceptJunkie (profile) says:

Some people are missing the point...

The point of the article is not that competition is bad, it’s that there are numerous companies trying the same (apparently) bad idea. YouTube is another in a long line of services that is very useful for the average Joe, but doesn’t actually have a means to build a business around it. In fact, this a huge problem for a lot of the “Web 2.0”. There are some tremendous innovations going on, but because of many factors, including what the Web has normally been like in the last 15 years, it isn’t exactly obvious how many of these businesses can actually be, you know, businesses.

I think selling advertising as a business model is becoming more and more obsolete… look at the death throes it’s going through for broadcast TV, where it’s convenient to bypass advertising entirely, not to mention the same thing on the Web… I for one have almost forgotten the epilepsy-inducing nature of the typical Web ads since switching to superior browsing technology years ago. Eventually, these businesses are going to have to figure out a way to actually sell a product or server… at the end of the day, YouTube isn’t really mnuch different from the original Napster, except for the fact that it probably has a somewhat lower proportion of copyright-violating material.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Some people are missing the point...

I agree, the web is slowing down because too many of the companies that have the resources to innovate are simplying copying each other to see if they can make a quick buck. Really did we need another myspace?? Hell no, all we needed was geocities, college club, etc. Myspace is just the next cool fad that’s a sitting duck until the next copycat decides to enter the market. I miss innovation, there are too many choices being given for free bullshit like video exchange and not enough for stuff that really matter helping geeks get a change in the job market. While we’re uploading free bullshit like videos jobs are diminishing. I’d rather pay for things that matter than waste time toying around with free sites that simply mimic each other for the sake of being “cool” with no real business model.

How many techies will these free sites employ? When you’re out of the 19-25 age range how will these bullshit sites help you make a living being a techie? Those are the types of issues that need to be addressed by Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, AOL and all the other giants that find it easier to fking copy than innovate and create jobs.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Some people are missing the point...

uhm..

Honestly, who cares if “YOU” are having trouble keeping a job. I don’t. And the fact that you can’t hold a job has absolutely nothing to do with the article either.

The point of a company isn’t to make jobs. Its to make MONEY. Innovation more jobs.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Some people are missing the point...

News flash stupid, socially the point of a company IS to make jobs, not only money. That’s how this country works, this isn’t the old Iraq where one central command keeps all the money for himself. The US was built on companies innovating then employing, that’s what keeps our economy moving. But companies copying each other so some nerd without a life can play around all day with different versions of the same damn thing will do little to nothing as far as job creation goes. These “me too” ventures are getting way-too old.

As for job creation I’m currently a software developer and I am employed FYDAI. And the fact that your ignorant ass doesn’t care about the availability of jobs just shows that you’re not even worth replying to.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Some people are missing the point.

“As for job creation I’m currently a software developer and I am employed FYDAI.”

Oh, look, a programmer trying to tell a business analyst how to run a business. How quaint.

This flamewar is pointless and still off-topic, so let have the courtesy for the other readers and stop it now.

Oblivious says:

Are we missing...

[gets out conspiracy notepad] CNN no longer wants to pay people for their news content… rather they’d have people upload newsworthy content and CNN would instantly own the rights to everyone’s videos to do with them whatever their wildest heart’s desire be… really how can you compete with free? 😉 And AOL still exists after the whole “pay for AOL on top of your broadband connection” deal?

Lay Person says:

Mike, Hmmm...

Seems to me that whatever AOL touches is a lame user experience anyway. I mean what has AOL ever done since it’s debut that was all that exceptional…nothing.

As far as numerouse copycat sites, so what? What we are witnessing is evolution in progress. If they truly are copycats, they will go the way of the Dodo bird. Unwilling to be fresh or offer something for the visit, they will suffer their own demise.

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