There have been lot’s of comments recently about the number of video services and sites launching, best captured today in Arrington’s blog with this headline:
“Online Video Sites: Breeding Like Rabbits”
Yes, and the point is? Look, video is a datatype, arguably the most important datatype. As our pipes get fatter, it’s natural there will be many, many more video sites and services. Saying there are many video sites now being launched is a little like saying there were many text sites launched in 1996.
The more important point — which is a problem with the renewed frothy environment for entrepreneurs — is that so many of these sites and services are doing exactly the same thing. There are dozens of sites trying to be the second most popular YouTube (which in turn was critized for being yet another Web 2.0 company when it launched, especially with its “flickr for video” mantra). There are now a significant number of “editing” companies coming online. And we’ll soon see more and more “del.icio.us for video” plays.
The fundamental questions all of these services have to answer remain the same:
1. What is the real problem (some) people have that they solve?
2. How will they make money solving that problem?
3. How will they distinguish their solution from competitors, how will they offer something better?
I would argue that some of these new services answer the first question, but most and maybe all fail to answer the second and third questions. Even YouTube.
In my mind, there remain many interesting and challenging problems that still need to be addressed in the video space. And so, ironically, there remain lots of opportunities for entrepreneurs who think through all three questions, despite the fact video services “breeding like rabbits.”