YouTube, Google's $1.65 billion acquisition, leads the online video pack with 83 million viewers in U.S. That puts the video sharing site well ahead of Hulu, at least in terms of viewers, who compares with 6 million viewers, according to market researcher Nielsen. But when it comes to advertising revenue, the playing field is much more level.
Arash Amel, an analyst at digital media research group Screen Digest, suggests that Hulu's advertising revenue is growing much more rapidly than YouTube. By his own forecasts, Amel estimates YouTube will generate about $100 million by the end of 2008, whereas Hulu won't be too far behind at an estimated $70 million. The two are expected to be dead even next year, with both companies generating about $180 million in the U.S.
"YouTube is in a very tough place right now," said Mr Amel. "Most of that user-generated content is worthless or illegal. The next 18 months will determine whether or not it was just an expensive mistake for Google."
Whether or not YouTube can retain its lead remains to be seen. Matthew Liu, a YouTube advertising product manager, notes that the site isn't where it should, but the question is, what can it do about it?
YouTube might not ever be the cash cow Google hoped it would be when it purchased the video sharing site for $1.65 billion, but it won't be from lack of trying. The latest money making scheme being rolled out is a new ad platform YouTube is calling Sponsored Videos.
Sponsored Videos will let users promote their videos by bidding on keywords, whether those users be individuals or corporations. To help with the process, Google has created automated tools for users to place their bids for the keywords they want. As surfers type in those keywords, YouTube will display the tagged videos next to the search results. The new feature seems like an obvious one, so what took YouTube so long to implement it?
"In hindsight, it is a natural transition for YouTube to make," said Matthew Liu, a YouTube product manager. "We've been working on this for months. The key was, we wanted to make sure we got it right. There are a lot of intricacies involved. YouTube is a video discovery platform. We've been integrating with Google AdWords for some time, and now we're at a place where it can be win and win."
The Sponsored Videos will be clearly labeled when they appear following a keyword search and come priced on a cost-per click formula.
Understandably, AT&T might not be the name that one thinks of when they consider a comprehensive online video search. But, remaining open minded (as one tends to do in San Francisco), you can’t help but notice how well the telecommunications giant has pulled off their very first video search site, VideoCrawler.
In conjunction with start-up company Divvo, AT&T has managed to launch VideoCrawler, a search that has more than 1,600 online video outlets latched directly into its brain. Sites such as YouTube and MySpace are among the long list of video channels available.
While they don’t offer any services for uploading your own videos, they do have a pretty impressive collection. So go ahead, search for that clip of the dog that never learned how to bark. Chances are might good that you’ll be able to track it down.
YouTube superstars will soon have a chance to become, um, YouTube super-duper stars as the video sharing sites gets ready to dive into live programming. YouTube Live, as the show is being called, will kick off on November 22 in San Francisco and feature recognizable stars like Will.i.Am and singer Katy Perry, along with talents from the the likes of 20-year-old Esmee Denters known for her amateur videos singing cover versions of popular songs.
"The value of YouTube is we've created this platform that's been driven by the community, so this is in reaction to that," said YouTube spokesman Chris Di Cesare. "Having a community event that the community values benefits all involved."
Roughly 50 entertainers responsible for more than 2.5 billion video views are scheduled to appear on YouTube Live. The Google-owned video sharing site also said it plans to hold follow-up events to YouTube Live, but made no mention of what those events might entail.
After banning the troops from YouTube in 2007 for bandwidth and security issues, the Military is attempting to turn a quagmire into something positive.
The attempt, better known as the US Military’s new video sharing site, aptly named TroopTube, is already up and running. Potential members can register as a member of one of the three braches of the armed forces, a family member, or a civilian. Once registered, users can upload personal videos. But instead of being simply processed, this time the video is screened by a Pentagon employee to ensure that there isn’t anything naughty.
“A lot of people are excited … to be doing something for the people who make sacrifices,” said Alex Castro, the Chief Executive on the project. “We're proud of this.”
As it turns out, YouTube’s recent addition of their theater mode will be used for not only longer high-def videos, but full-length feature films as well. One of Hollywood’s biggest (and still unnamed) movie studios could be adding content to the site as early as next month.
Google has been in talks with major film companies for months about launching ad-supported movies on YouTube, and two unnamed executives stated that the deal wouldn’t be sealed immediately, “But it's going to happen. I would say you can expect to see it, if all goes well, sometime within the next 30 to 90 days.”
Currently Hulu is the leader in online hi-def video and YouTube is hoping to take a shot at the throne. Hulu has found an honorable halfway point between ads and content, but it remains unclear that YouTube will be able to replicate that. Google has yet to disclose any specifics, but a spokeswoman commented, “We are in negotiations with a variety of entertainment companies. Our goal is to offer maximum choice for our users, partners, and advertisers.” While blanket statements are fun, they leave much to be desired.
I suppose, with most deals like this one, we’ll have to wait and see what happens.
Recently YouTube's really been ramping up its efforts to bring viewers a more cinematic online-video-viewing experience, a trend that continues as they bring home all the sophistication of foreign cinema with a new auto-translate features for subtitles. Ok, maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration. After all, machine translation being what it is, it's not particularly likely that you'll get more then a bare-bones understanding of what's going on, but at least that's better than nothing.
Of course, the functionality will only be available for videos which have had subtitles or captions uploaded with YouTube's recently-added caption feature, which is currently only a tiny percent of the videos online.The YouTube blog explains how to use the feature: "To get a translation for your preferred language, move the mouse over the bottom-right arrow, and then over the small triangle next to the CC (or subtitle) icon, to see the captions menu. Click on the "Translate..." button and then you will be given a choice of many different languages."
What do you think of the feature? Is it just another gimmick, or is it going to open YouTube up to greater cross-cultural participation? Let us know after the jump.
We all have that friend or colleague who simply can't resist passing along a link to yet another "hilarious" YouTube video (and if not, well, you might be that friend or colleague). That's okay when it's a quick 30-second videoclip, but does Dan from accounting really expect us to sit through a 12-minute low quality video that doesn't even begin to get good until the 8-minute and 32-second mark?
No longer do we have to, and Dan can link us to a specific spot in any YouTube clip now that the video sharing site has quietly implemented deep linking functionality. To do so, senders need only add a short tag to the end of any YouTube link in the form of #t=_m_s, but instead of underscores, specify the exact minute and seconds (as designated by the 'm' and 's'). So to skip to the 8-minute and 32-second mark, it would read #t=8m32s.
When it comes to search engine popularity, Yahoo must have gotten used to playing second fiddle to Google. However, things just got a little worse for the big Y, as YouTube received more search traffic in August than Yahoo, clinching the #1 and #2 spots for Google.
YouTube received 2.6 billion search queries on August, barely slipping past Yahoo’s 2.4 billion. Of course, both numbers pale in comparison to Google’s 7.6 billion searches. For the first time, if both of Google’s holdings’ searches are combined, it puts Google at more than 10 billion searches in a single month.
Yahoo’s perpetual suitor Microsoft, meanwhile, served up a combined 1.0 billion searches across all its sites.
Of course, the Yahoo and YouTube’s respective search engines perform largely different functions, making a direct comparison of the two a little futile, but the statistic does nicely illustrate the dominant position Google is establishing for itself in all different sectors of the Web.
Long the king of entertainment for the attention-deficit, YouTube is finally hosting full-length episodes of TV shows. Taking a cue from Hulu, Google will be offering the videos with the new theater view mode, “dimming the lights” on the rest of the page and adding a superfluous red curtain on either side of the video playback.
Also like Hulu, the full-length episodes will include ads before, after, and during the episodes. On their blog, YouTube explains: “As we test this new format, we also want to ensure that our partners have more options when it comes to advertising on their full-length TV shows. You may see in-stream video ads (including pre-, mid- and post-rolls) embedded in some of these episodes; this advertising format will only appear on premium content where you are most comfortable seeing such ads.”
So far, the site is offering a handful of episodes of Star Trek, MacGyver, Beverly Hills 90210 and The Young and the Restless, with the promise of more to come.
What do you think? Is YouTube going to be successful in the video on-demand market? Is it going to take more than low-res MacGyver to get you to tune in? Let us know after the break.