YouTube has been toying around with more lenient time limits over the past 6 months, but have finally decided to open the floodgates to videos of any length. The announcement sounds promising in principal, but the reality is that not everyone will actually qualify since it only applies to accounts that are free of any past copyright violations.
Avoiding copyright violations in and of itself isn’t the problem, the biggest issue we hear is from Podcasters who claim that YouTube is great at figuring out if you’re rebroadcasting content, but not so great at determining “fair use” for the purpose of commentary.
Either way this is a step in the right direction, and an amazingly bold move for a company that has to handle more video per hour then we could watch in a lifetime. Got a 2 hour video of your cat sleeping in 1080p? We think you’ll be safe with that one.
Making money with online video is no easy task, just ask Google. It's king of the hill video sharing service YouTube continues to operate in the red almost 5 years after its initial release, a reality which makes us wonder how anyone without Google's nearly infinite resources could possibly survive in this space. The latest competitor to bite the dust is Veoh, which if you haven't heard of it, was aiming to fill the void of copy protected content that was created when Google purged its archives at the behest of the TV networks a few years back.
The ultimate goal of Veoh was to give users access to major studio content and independent productions, but costly legal battles, primarily with Vivendi's Universal Music Group ended up overwhelming the good intentions of founder Dmitry Shapiro. Veoh had content agreements in place with CBS, ABC, Viacom, MTV, and even ESPN. At its peak the service was hosting almost 28 million users per month, but ultimately was unsustainable. Early investors in the service include some pretty big names such as Walt Disney, Goldman Sachs, Time Warner, Adobe Systems, and even some ex Viacom executives.
On Shapiro's blog he stated the company would file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection in response to the difficult economy, and also due to his ongoing legal woes with Vivendi, but the most likely scenario at this point ends with Veoh liquidating its assets and rejoining the internet ether from which all web 2.0 spawns.
If you've logged into YouTube today, you may have noticed that the embedded video player looks wider. That's because it is. In a blog post, YouTube announced it has widened the width of the page to 960 pixels in response to customer feedback, but that might only be part of the story.
According to reports, YouTube is looking to offer feature films by as early as next month and has already convinced one major Hollywood movie studio to jump on board. By upgrading its video player to support widescreen content, YouTube puts itself in a better position to pitch its service to even more content producers and better compete with other video sites like Hulu. Hulu, despite trailing YouTube by a wide margin in the number of viewers, is on track to catch up to YouTube in advertising revenue next year.
In the meantime, for those that prefer to watch crappy amateur videos in the 4:3 aspect ratio, YouTube ensures they will play just fine in the new player.
Good move for YouTube? Hit the jump and post your thoughts.