One billion views a day? That’s a whole lot of the Evolution of Dance, Susan Boyle, and Tron Guy. But it all depends on who’s doing the counting. Officially, according to comScore, YouTube in August had surpassed 10 billion views which, no matter how you slice it, is a whole lot of views. Miguel Helft, of The New York Times Bits blog, notes that this total is only for the United States. If foreign views are tallied it is estimated that the 10 billion number would double. While that leaves YouTube a bit short of the 30 billion that 1 billion a day would produce, it still beats the pants off of second place Microsoft, which played a mere 547 million videos during the same period.
Where does the 1 billion views a day number come from? YouTube itself. In a YouTube blog titled “Y,000,000,000uTube”, Chad Hurley, CEO and co-founder of YouTube, claims YouTube is now the “burger kings of media,” serving up well over a billion views a day. Hurley also notes that the nature of YouTube is changing: “As bandwidth has increased, so has our video quality. As we've started to see demand for longer, full-length content, we've brought more shows and movies to the site.”
For a bit of perspective on all this 1 billion views a day equates to 11,574 YouTube videos started up each second of the day. That’s a whole lot of bandwidth!
The headline “Hulu is going subscription” has been making headlines around the net recently, but as usual, some of these claims are somewhat exaggerated. New Corps. Chairman Rupert Murdoch and NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker indicated that Hulu may indeed one day have a subscription based service, but “no decisions have been made yet”. Inside sources have indicated that Hulu is already beta testing subscription based video services internally, but that this is merely an attempt to hammer out the technical details.
The challenge for Hulu at this point is to successfully find a strategy for transitioning to a paid business model, especially when its popularity was largely fueled by the simple fact that it was the best legal way to get free access to TV shows. Experimenting with new business models isn’t surprising, it’s even healthy, but where it leads is anyone guess. Hulu is also in a great position to watch and learn as Google attempts to implement its paid content. Adding paid offerings to a free online video service may or may not take off, but at least they appear to be letting someone else take the lead.
Either way it doesn’t sound like Hulu will be going subscription anytime soon, but at least it shows they are still dedicated to the future of the service.
UK’s Competition Commission has disapproved Project Kangaroo, a proposed Hulu-esque VOD service, which was supposed to provide video content – mostly free videos - from three of its joint owners, the BBC, ITV and Channel 4. The fear of Kangaroo’s inevitable hegemony led the Commission to veto the alliance. The Commission felt that the video-on-demand service would have resulted in the “loss of competition” between its proprietors.
The three companies expressed their disconsolation in a joint statement. “We are disappointed by the decision to prohibit this joint venture. While this is an unwelcome finding for the shareholders, the real losers from this decision are British consumers. This is a disproportionate remedy and a missed opportunity in the further development of British broadcasting,” the statement reads. Although consumers would have most certainly devoured the service, the Commission's findings appear to be reasonable.
It seems inevitable that ISPs currently training their guns at p2p traffic will soon start fretting over video sharing websites, which are gaining in popularity and gradually conquering more internet bandwidth. November 2008 proved to be another prolific month for online video websites. According to data released by comScore Video Metrix service, there was a 34% year-over-year increase in online viewership in the US in November. A staggering 12.7 billion online videos kept online viewers riveted to their computer screens.
Google websites accounted for 40% of the total views in that month. Google obviously has its Youtube juggernaut to thank for being in the ascendancy. Youtube contributed 98% of Google’s market share. Google websites also triumphed as far as total number of viewers goes with 98 million viewers in November.
One website that has come up by leaps and bounds is Hulu, which retained the 6th spot in the high-stakes online video market in November 2008. Hulu scored a major victory over its competitors by emerging as the website with most riveting videos as the average duration of each video viewed at Hulu was 11.9 minutes – way higher than the industry average of 3.1 minutes.