Online Video Services Want To Find Just The Good Stuff (Wasn't That What TV Was For?)

from the cutting-out-the-long-tail dept

With so much video now online, we're back to a question we saw in the early days of the web: what's the best way to find, organize and filter it all? The big video sharing sites don't do much more than list popular videos, or make recommendations based on other videos that you watch, and these can be gamed, like other online ranking systems. So new services are looking to tackle this challenge. One company, Brightcove, is trying to be a full-featured video portal offering users a way to search all online video and find video by categories, as well as upload their own videos and set up advertising for it. The site also has a large bent towards serving big media companies that want to get their own content onto the web. Another site, Metacafe, takes a different approach. Instead of trying to accommodate the full long tail, like YouTube, it just wants the head, the videos that people like and watch over and over again. To do this, it has a group of people look over each entry before it's posted to determine whether or not it's likely to be popular. And if the video does garner enough page views, then the creator will get paid for it. The effect is that Metacafe does have a high percentage of good videos; the downside is that it is basically taking the same approach as traditional media, which is to have a panel of gatekeepers decide what gets in or out. It's good that companies are looking for a more sophisticated approach to online video, but it's not enough to just add money, experts or categories for it to work. YouTube's own history helps reinforce this point. When it first launched, the company offered people money to post their videos, but it didn't go anywhere. It was when the site started to hone its social features that it really took off. New companies entering the market have to appreciate this dynamic, as money won't be enough to buy popularity.

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