Thursday, 28 February 2008

10 great examples of developments in online video

Broadband has wide penetration and ever increasing speeds are changing the way that consumers interact with the internet - from publishing content on social networks through to downloading music and films, broadband has changed the game. Jupiter Research found that the percentage of UK online users watching video grew from 8% in 2006 to 29% last year and a number of developments have led to 2008 being widely predicted to be the 'year of online video.’

Here are 10 great examples of online video:

1) Newspaper publishers branching into video production. In many markets newspaper publishers have started to produce professional video content which is hosted on their website. From AftonbladetTV in Sweden to the successful Telegraph TV initiative in the UK - newspaper website video news / video content has become widespread.

2) It has taken a while, but Google are now going to market with YouTube and selling a variety of packages from branded channels through to MPU's and InVideo Ads. At the same time Google are recruiting prominent publishers to the YouTube network by paying them to upload content. This professionalisation of YouTube will undoubtedly see more advertisers using the site and promoting their YouTube pages / branded channels accordingly - something that will boost YouTube traffic as a result.

3) Online TV on demand - Various UK TV broadcasters have on demand products (, 4OD, Sky Anytime, Five download) but it is the BBC's iplayer that has really moved things on. Launched at Christmas 2007 it has the strapline 'making the unmissable, unmissable' and allows viewers to watch streamed programmes for 7 days after broadcast or download programmes for view up to 30 days after transmission. Whilst only available in the UK, it has been very successful with 17 million views since launch ( Iplayer has been so successful that it is now taking up a sizeable chunk of UK bandwidth. Some are starting to question whether it should remain free and suggesting that the BBC should take some responsibility in expanding UK bandwidth. This may become even more of an issue when the combined all-channel 'Kangaroo' platform launches later this year, but for now there is no doubting consumer appetite for this kind of service.

4) Video search is improving too and dedicated video Search engines have been established. Blinkx is one of the biggest and “uses a unique combination of patented conceptual search, speech recognition and video analysis software to efficiently, automatically and accurately find and qualify online video” . Reuters have also been exploring Video Search, specifically facial recognition Video Search ( If a user searches for 'David Beckham' their results will not just be videos tagged with 'David Beckham', but facial recognition technology will serve results of any video that he is featured in - regardless of its tagging.

5) The adoption of Universal Search will also improve video penetration. Google and other Search Engines are working hard to improve their algorithms so that the meaning behind a users Search enquiry can be interpreted and more relevant results shown. Universal Search delivers a blended mixture of text, images and videos and as non-text based results become more common, video results will become more prevalent.

6) Video conversations - video conversations are now commonplace. A user will publish a video and others will post video responses. There are a number of great examples of this in practice. YouTube promoted initiatives like encouraging voters to submit video questions for the Presidential debates and the Davos question (where users were encouraged to submit video questions for world leaders). YouTube also regularly sees spontaneous response videos posted regularly, for example LisaNova leaving a response for the Burger King branded DiddyTV channel. Indeed video blogging and video conversation has become so widespread that new start-ups like Loic Le Meur’s ‘Seesmic ’ are launching around this trend.

8) ITunes syndication - the ability to syndicate content onto itunes as downloadable vodcasts has given publishers and content creators new ways to distribute their work and has encouraged consumers to experiment with portable video devices. Amongst others the BBC and US networks have been selling TV series by the episode and also offering season passes. A number of online video sites are also using itunes as a distribution channel, eg GreenTV who get 20% of their traffic / views as a result of being on itunes.

9) Even with the advent of things like iPlayer and iTunes, a recent analysis of the latest P2P trends wordwide shows that file sharing is still commonplace, with BitTorrent still being the most popular filesharing protocol. BitTorrent traffic continues to increase and is responsible for 50-75% of all P2P traffic and roughly 40% of all Internet traffic. Whilst copyright owners are still trying to pursue filesharers, Bittorrent remains popular – especially with the audiences of Sci-Fi shows like Battlestar Galactica and Lost.

10) Hardware like Slingbox is also changing viewing habits and encouraging consumers to watch video / TV on a computer screen. The Slingbox AV allows users to watch and control their favorite TV source from anywhere in the world on a laptop or cell phone. Programming is recorded on a home box and users can log onto it remotely. Even Dr. Phil is an advocate, giving away Slingboxes to his audience to mark his 1000th show! (

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