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Why do Video Platforms Fail?

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In online video, there is big interest in the entry point, the place where people go to discover and watch video and ultimately where payment is made, one way or another, for the watching. For some incredible reason that I can not fathom, an extraordinarily large number of people believe they can create the entry point in which the rest of the world will come to discover video. The competition is fierce and the success rate over the years has been a series of clockwork dead on arrivals.

This entry point offline used to be TV-Guide for TV content along with local newspapers for Movie listings, both “dead sources”, so to speak. In music, a company called Sound Warehouse once dominated America as the entry point for musical recording sales, physically, and now it’s completely gone.

Meanwhile, musicians only needed a cheap and clear signal-to-noise ratio to record sound with while the audience only needed dial-up to d/l the music with, to bring on the democratization of the music industry regardless of the pre-established industry’s control.

The traditional TV/Movie/Film studios have not been as afraid of the internet recently, having had the opportunity to stand by and watch their music industry colleagues break down. Easily anticipating awhile back what has now become cheap and clear imaging to record and edit the world with, a new audience has now materialized only needing to click once to see anything by anyone.

Still yet, the pre-established studios have been reliant on 3rd parties (i.e. Silicon Valley) to solve their technological deficiencies, or they continue to not listen at all, and have rolled-out tripping.

Does anyone remember a site called Open Media Network? It used to be the biggest thing to hit the internet the day before it released but it took me 20 minutes to remember the name and find it just now. Mark Andreessen (orig. leader of Netscape) was on the board and they signed on PBS.

What about Current.tv? They are still here but they decided to go up stream for some reason, as if to provide friction for the rest industry moving online. Many people like myself were jaw dropped to consider the impact the same amount of money and action could have made globally with a strategy that was predominantly based on internet audiences.

What about MTV’s big online effort? No one on a Mac could get in. And so what’s next? The $25 Million in private equity Roo partner? MTV has been doing short-form content for a LONG time, but hasn’t been doing so hot transitioning onto the internet.

What happened to Akimbo’s $27Million?

What about AT&T Homezone’s all-in-one wonder box? Apparently a fresh new $1.6Billion has been alloted to push subscribers. Golly.

A current press release states that Brightcove ($59Million injection this year), once THE most promising player in the world (before it was released) “recently added an update to the Brightcove Platform that included several new features and a number of great enhancements to our services”. Jeremy Allaire first created Cold Fusion which is a very different kind of venture.

Ever hear of Innertube, CBS.com’s effort? According to today’s Wall Street Journal “CBS’s new chief Internet strategist now jokes that the Web address for Innertube should be CBS.com/nobodycomeshere”.

Now CBS (and thus now Wallstrip) will divert their brand energies to someone else’s brand to give it a whirl, Joost: “Joost gets a $45Million extra.

Posts that contain Joost per day for the last 30 days.
Technorati Chart

Maybe today’s most likely contender will spark, I can’t say I will be surprised to see that there is something which makes this one THE one, but at the very least, the risk for Joost, I think, is totally beside itself and it’s hard to imagine, just based on history, that this is going to work.

Why are these always going wrong or why are they not going better?

TOP TEN REASONS WHY VIDEO PLATFORMS FAIL:

1. Insubstantial library of content
2. Poor bit rates
3. Lack of innovation (clone platform)
4. No share in content ownership rights
5. No exclusivity of content distribution
6. Lack of spark/spirit for a centralized community
7. Need for users to d/l proprietary software
8. Awkward interface design
9. Overly excessive emphasis on rights protection
10. Lack of technological foresight & audience expectations

Most noteworthy, I have always suggested that an individual show may thrive best when allowed to live and breathe in its own home, on it’s own website, best suited for it’s own special case. A video player is one brand, a network is another and each individual show is itself a brand. If the show is unique and special, it will find its own identity and own distinct audience in it’s own authentic location.

There is still certainly PLENTY of room for new, quality video content, the kind of entertaining content that Hollywood has traditionally been masters of so the competition is low in the creative studio department, the audiences are growing, business model options are progressing at least – there certainly are plenty of distribution partner options – it seems to be a wonderful time to create video that people respond to online.

As for the audiences, they like to get it in different ways at all kinds of different places. No matter where the big party is, or where the authentic home base may be, hopefully the content can make it’s way easily into the growing number of scenes on the growing number of screens.

nn

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