Mario Sundar's Speakeasy

Spero Ventures. Early LinkedIn, Twitter. These are my thoughts on tech, brand, marketing and community.

The Evolution of WebTV and Online Video

Over the past few days, I’ve read news articles that time and again point to the inevitable evolution of online video. What started as a news ripple with the YouTube acquisition is slowly turning into a definite sign of the deluge.

Here are 2 WebTV ventures that may provide a tantalizing glimpse into the future:

1. Venice WebTV — from the makers of Kazaa & Skype! (website)

We have all heard of major TV channels NBC, ABC, etc…but have you thought of how the landscape may be for Web TV a few years from now. I’ve always maintained that web video shows like Rev3, ScobleShow will catapult their producers Digg, Podtech, etc… into major webTV channel status. We already saw that with Digg launching Rev3 recently.

Further proof of this evolution was provided by Skype co-founder Janus Friis when he recently announced the launch of his web TV service.

The project, code-named Venice, will bring quality TV programs for free to consumers who have a broadband Internet connection

Hmm…Interesting. He goes on to then say that:

This is a system where people with professional content can put it out (on the Internet). And that can be anybody

Differentiators: Please note the use of the word “quality” followed by the use of the word “anybody“. I conclude that he means anybody who can produce quality content can publish it on the Venice Project and that’d be a major differentiator from YouTube.

Who are the “anybodies“?

For starters I believe this is a golden opportunity for the likes of Scoble (ScobleShow), Kevin Rose (DiggNation), Ze Frank (the show), etc… to parlay the success of their pioneering video shows into further syndication across some of these newer WebTV services.

Another interesting factor that caught my attention was that as the focus shifts from YouTube quality to ScobleShow quality, the barriers to entry are considerably increased thereby putting the brakes on just about “anybody” creating content. Check out this recent Scoble post where he calculates the high-cost of creating video content and you’ll see what a barrier to entry that could be for wannabe amateur videocasters.

(News Source: Yahoo! News, BusinessWeek)

2. BrightCove – YouTube for Professionals (website)

With YouTube taking the extreme step of removing all of Comedy Central’s videos from their server (why would I step into YouTube if I can’t watch Jon Stewart clips!), I was wondering where to turn to, until I heard of BrightCove’s plans.

USA Today proclaims that:

Brightcove will try to take Internet TV into the media mainstream Monday by unveiling a suite of services to help consumers find what they want — while easing the way for content providers to create slick-looking videos and generate revenue from them

Differentiators: quality/slick-looking, focus on search, links to “cable channels Bravo, Discovery, AMC, Oxygen and TV Land; music companies Sony BMG and Warner Music; information providers Newsweek, The New York Times, Reuters and The Wall Street Journal; and brand marketers Kohler and”.(Nice!) More important differences lie in the fact that their business model further relies on the $ triumvirate of ad sales, syndication, and retail.

As you can see, the renewed focus is on high-quality and hopefully higher-$-returns. It’s definitely interesting to see the landscape of WebTV evolve before our eyes.

(News Sources: TechMeme, CNET, USA Today & TechCrunch)

Since on this site, my focus is on corporate marketing, tomorrow day-after tomorrow, I’ll talk about (i) how corporate marketers can leverage these newer content dissemination channels, (ii) simple steps to create corporate content (podcasts/videocasts) and (iii) ways to syndicate that content across appropriate web channels to better reach your target audiences.

Stay tuned for more.

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4 Responses

  1. We at TasteTV ( have been talking about this market for two years, way before it even existed. We’d be more than happy to talk with about it more and our unique insights. Have you seen our Testimonial video for Brightcove?


  2. […] Now that we’ve established the fact that online rich media advertising is bound to grow by leaps and bounds, let me segue onto a continuation of my earlier post where I spoke about the evolution of the web as a medium for videos. From a corporate marketer’s perspective I’m sure you’re thinking, that’s great, but how can I leverage the power of the rich media web to market my company’s products better. Here are 2 questions you may be asking: […]


  3. Mario Sundar says:

    Hi Kevin,

    I just checked out your website and the testimonial. I’d definitely love to chat with you more about WebTV in general and where you see this medium going.

    Feel free to email me at my yahoo address and we could maybe set up a blog interview. BTW, do you have a blog that I can check out.

    Thanks. Mario


  4. digifactory says:

    I also believe that webTV is the future and that is proven by the numbers themselves.
    On the other hand, at least for my country (Greece), streaming/bandwidth costs are still high with low advertising revenues. But I believe (and hope) that will not be forever.


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