The $34M funding of Daily Motion yesterday, on top of other monster rounds by Veoh and Metacafe, has people talking about the video sharing space again. Om Malik has an interesting wrap up here.
For a while, people have argued that there can only be so many video sharing sites. I think that’s probably right if you’re talking about pure-play, general-purpose video sharing sites. (I’d guess it’s somewhere north of 10 and less than 30 – a handful of global big players, plus a variety of smaller, regional sites).
But I think focusing on the pure-play video sharing market misses the larger phenomenon — which is that video sharing has become a standard feature for many internet sites. For example, on our site vodpod.com, our members have now collected videos from over 1300 different sites. That number grows by 5-10 sites a day. The vast majority of these sites aren’t pure-play video sharing sites — instead, they are web sites that offer video sharing as just another feature, or they are niche-sites that largely provide video programming.
I argued this would happen last fall in a post called “61,000 video sharing sites” and outlined some of the reasons why:
My guess is that there are going to be a lot more; more like sixty-one thousand. That’s right, 61,000 sites that (a) offer video, (b) in flash (or its future equivalent), and (c) allow the video to be embedded by the users of the site.
a. Globally, there are lots of companies and people who own or make video programming;
b. The combination of broadband and flash had made it trivial to distribute video on the Internet now, and for people to watch it;
c. Allowing your viewers to take the programming and “embed” it into their blogs, myspace pages is just smart distribution; and,
d. Video (and audio) unlike text and photos can be delivered in microchunks, untethered from their home site, and still make you money (because you could put ads in the stream if you wanted).
Perhaps this is another way to look at this: one could consider text sites (blogs and others) that support RSS “text sharing” sites. There are probably millions, maybe tens of millions, of those text sharing sites, and I think we’re comfortable with that notion. We should expect nothing less with the video space.
I think these arguments still hold true, and I’d add one other: it’s increasingly easier for many people to make video. Whether it’s Kara Swisher making videos with The Flip on Allthings.d or Scoble making videos on Kyte.tv (to cite two inside-baseball examples of the phenomena) or thousands of people making their own videos with their phones, or webcams, or still cameras with video capability. Not to mention the explosion in amateur and professional animation online and the tools that have made this easier.
I think this all has lots of interesting implications for how people discover and watch video on the Internet. Happily (from my standpoint) most people are still focused on the battle of the pure-play video sharing sites, and haven’t yet focused on the larger, more fundamental trend. With luck, that will continue for a while longer…