The online video space continues to see a lot of action. This is not to be confused with the IPTV space, talked about in the previous post, which involves telco-delivered video service packages (akin to cable). Online video is rather the video content you watch on your computer (although televisions will slowly become the primary viewing outlet, to the ultimate benefit of online video adoption as pointed out below).
On with the roundup:
ABI Research believes that the popularity of online video is fueling the demand for Web-connected televisions. This is an interesting assessment and I would argue that they are fueling each other. As we’ve pointed out in the past, the ability to watch online video in “lean back mode” (on your couch rather than your desk chair) will push forward online video adoption. The recent introduction of Apple TV will accelerate this.
The International Herald Tribune reports that Comcast and runaway social networking success Facebook have gotten together to launch an online video series. Known as “Facebook Diaries,” it will target 18- to 24-year-olds with 30-minute user-generated video clips shown on Facebook, Comcast’s Ziddio.com and Comcast’s video-on-demand cable service. Facebook will gain extra distribution for its fledgling video efforts, while Comcast will be able to gain Web traffic and tap into a younger demographic among Facebook’s 16 million users. The deal will involve “sponsorship and advertising opportunities,” though details weren’t given.
Search Engine Watch reports that online video search engine Blinkx has launched a widget that lets any Web site have a dynamically updated video player. This will use the text generated in the URLs of blog posts or other Web pages to automatically search for and display related online videos. This will be particularly useful to blogs or Web sites that wish to integrate multimedia capabilities. Integrating video advertising should follow, given the widget’s ability to contextually match noncommercial video to text. Blinkx will probably have to develop and improve the accuracy of the technology to a certain level before it does this likely the stage in which it currently finds itself. This is similar to the opportunities that face vSocial, which we wrote about here.
The New York Times has announced that it will start integrating user-generated video content on its Web site beginning in March. The cost effectiveness and viral advantages of this type of content are said to be drivers for beginning to experiment with it. Red Herring has more. Social networking and user-generated content on newspaper Web sites were also a topic of discussion at last week’s Newspaper Association of America conference.
Lastly, Wal-Mart has announced it will launch an online video downloading store. This will sell digital versions of 3,000 films and television episodes from the likes of Fox Broadcasting. In the works are deals to bring in content from ABC, CBS and NBC. This will be similar to other download services, such as Apple’s iTunes store, but it will undercut others in price with movies for as low as $12.88 and TV episodes for $1.96.
This is only 4 cents less than Apple charges for episodes, which is not likely enough to switch loyalties from the brand-strong iTunes store. Growth will therefore come from new users, as demand for online video downloading is expected to grow (particularly because of Apple TV, as mentioned above). Studios will be more inclined to work with Wal-Mart given its variable pricing, which is more attractive to studios than Apple’s single-point pricing. More from The Washington Post and TechCrunch.