I was looking at the TV Channels that Loic Le Meur built using the infrastructure of Vpod.tv and I was super impressed at how studio like quality, a one person effort can be. I also built my own TV channel but walking around with an Nokia N80 my channel is not as professional as Loic´s. Most of my films show poorly when blown up to full screen.

This week I ran into Chad Hurley of Youtube at Google Zeitgeist Europe and I mentioned to him my view that while incredibly successful and simple to use Youtube needs certain improvements to keep growing at its frantic pace. These are going multilingual, going live and greatly improving its editing tools. But talking to Chad I realized that his vision, (and who can prove him wrong as he has built the fourth most popular web site on earth?), is to keep things simple and massive. So so long as Chad is going for the Microsoft approach to video my take is that there´s room for a few Apples to grow. I have been investing in some of them as I see them very complementary to Fon the company that I founded and manage and in which Google and Skype are my investors.

Currently if you produce video content of any kind and are purely looking for audiences Youtube is the place to be. But if you are like my friend Loic Le Meur, France´s top blogger, or myself with a personal blog with over 200K viewers platforms such as Vpod are better because you can control them more. And in any case, in a world of free video posting you are not forced to choose. In my case I post videos in Sevenload, Youtube and Vpod (I am an investor in Sevenload and Vpod). I choose Youtube for the audiences. Vpod for the superb quality of the platform and Sevenload for the ease of use and the ability to upload both, pictures and videos. I am also an investor in Joost. Joost is about competing with Youtube not on user generated content but on studio generated content. Joost has recently managed to sign up Viacom who left Youtube and has become a better alternative for those who focus on quality.

The other platform that I invested in is Azureus. Azureus is an open source project that is now trying to make it as a content delivery platform in the form of Vuze. Azureus is the most popular Bit Torrent client on the internet and most people use it in combination with Torrent search engines like The Pirate Bay another European site that has gone as far as inspiring a political party that fights what they see are oppressive intellectual rights and so far have been able to win. In general European views on intellectual properties are more liberal than those in America.

Mobuzztv is another interesting model. Mobuzz is not a platform. You cannot send your videos to Mobuzz nor can you download other people´s videos. But what Mobuzz does (4.5 million dowonloads last month) is to create original content for the internet. Mobuzz competes more with Techcrunch or GigaOm than with Youtube. With so many platforms relying on user generated content I now see a great opportunity for those who are doing more original work. Another site in this space are Rocket Boom.

Another European venture is Dailymotion by now only second to Youtube in audiences. What distinguishes Dailymotion from Youtube is what differentiates Europe from USA: morality. This is well explained by Bill Maher. Youtube has to follow American puritan standards which confuse nudity with pornography and whose concept of intellectual rights is stricter than that in Europe. Youtube also censors videos on Tianmen Square for example in order to continue its growth in China. Daily Motion does not censure in general.

Then there´s the platforms in which you video blog yourself live and create live content. There´s Comvu whose web site is unoriginal but its technology is pretty good and allows you to “vlog” live using a Nokia N80. BlogTV, Ustream, Kyte.tv and Operator11 allow you to do live shows off Macs and PCs. Personally I think that if Youtube launched Youtube Live it would take the wind away from all these sites sails but so far Youtube is not doing it. Live brings three huge markets, pornography which most want to leave out but few find it extremely profitable, reality shows and the long tail of sports (soccer mom films live soccer match other parents watch from home/office).

Revver is worthwhile mentioning cause it shows that there´s a lot of content to be uploaded out there that is worth seeing and not made by major studios.

Another remarkable success are the two incredibly popular sites for uploading and downloading videos and movies called Megaupload and Rapidshare. The 14th and 19th most popular web sites in the world. Still I have had a hard time understanding the massive of these sites as they are much harder to use than Azureus. If anything they show that while people are not willing to pay for video content say in iTunes in cash they seem to have not problem in paying for it in sweat.

And then there´s an enormous proliferation of streaming on the internet now that makes downloading unnecessary. Sites like Alluc index video content that is then hosted in many web sites around the world and just show content without paying royalties.

Another strategy are sites that do pay royalties to show live TV from around the world, like JumpTV who Morgan Stanley took public last year. Unfortunately for JumpTV shareholders sites there´s tons of competition, some pay royalties, some don´t. All these sites compete as well with the sites of all the major TV networks around the world which hesitate between showing their content for free or not and in their sites or on Youtube. Joost also competes in the market of live TV.

Lastly all of those sites compete in some way with the DVD industry which is also divided into the players who pay royalties and those who don´t and now new formats like Blu-Ray that compete through quality cause let´s face it, the internet has a real hard time passing true quality. Great quality requires 1GB streamed every 15 minutes, not easy to do over the internet. Even my 12 year old son who hates to pay for content loves to have a few of those Blu-Ray discs cause after all the streamed stuff Blu Ray feels like going to the movies.

Follow Martin Varsavsky on Twitter: twitter.com/martinvars

No Comments

Francesco on May 27, 2007  · 

Martin, thank you very much for this great post.

Another big difference between YouTube and DailyMotion is censorship! Contrary to YouTube, DailyMotion is not censoring videos like this one on Tiananmen’s tragedy


YouTube has apparently deleted many times this sort of videos in order to avoid being blocked by Chinese authorities.



3.0 rating

Flavio on May 27, 2007  · 

Hi Martin

There is another important online TV to come soon. It is called Babelgum (www.babelgum.com), and will be a direct competitor of Joost. Babelgum is backed by italian entrepreneur Silvio Scaglia, who is the founder of Fastweb (main competitor of Telecom Italia) recently sold to Swisscom.


3.0 rating

Charbax on May 27, 2007  · 

I’ve been video-blogging in HD for the past couple of years using a HDV camcorder, then encoding to DivX at 3.5mbit/s. That’s more like 400mb for 15 minutes, but you also are getting full screen, full HD blue-ray quality experience, at least on a normal computer screen which isn’t more than 720p (1280×1080 = 720p), and DivX or H264 at that bitrate looks like perfect HD, judge for yourself among my hundreds of HD videos from: CeBIT, CES, ifa2006.net, and I also video-blogged in HD at E3cast.com and recently around France during Ségolène Royal’s campaign at Sego.tv – Also got some OLPC videos at my olpc.tv – So there you got all the links to what I’ve been doing the past couple of years.

I don’t think advertising is to be forced onto consumers, especially not in videos, at least give to the visitor the possibillity to pay 1 cent to skip the annoying video add. Basically it’s the whole AdSense model that I also don’t think can have a mid-term sustainabillity. Ads on the Internet are annoying, and if people can pay a few cents through micro-payments to remove all adds, only get top quality personalized content recommendations at full HD quality streaming, also knowing that the artist is being directly compensated. That’s the kind of video startup I want to find programmers who would want to make with me. Cause my last two years of video-blogging in HD has been interesting, and I got more than half a million viewers, but there still isn’t a business model for it, and I don’t want to believe that only the ads model is gonna be available to internet video fans.

3.0 rating

Loic on May 27, 2007  · 

Thanks for the compliment Martin, I like my loic.tv too very much !

3.0 rating

Rodrigo A. SEPULVEDA SCHULZ on May 28, 2007  · 

Thank you Martin ! We love to have great technology that supports great content like loic.tv and to have happy investors 🙂

3.0 rating

pierre on May 30, 2007  · 

There is also a new technology called Netineo, enabling live broadcast directly available by url.

Thanks for the article by the way 😉

3.0 rating

Leave a Comment

Español / English

Subscribe to e-mail bulletin:
Recent Tweets