Online video: Where’s it headed?

Moby - Ooh Yeah! video competition

Video is emerging everywhere online -and why not?  Thanks to advances in Web-based playback technology and the proliferation high-speed Internet connections, sites like MetaCafe, DailyMotion, and Yahoo Video have all been able to build up a significant Web-user base as more and more people venture online rather than watch television.
Recently I stumbled upon the HD channel over at Vimeo -impressive to say the least. Full screen video content is viewable via Flash 9 plugin at 1280×720 pixels and although not true HD (if you consider HD to be full 1080), nevertheless, a glimpse into the level of quality playback we can start to expect in future online video applications.

Traditional television networks on the other hand have been somewhat slow to move their content online amidst legal and technological challenges involving security, digital rights management and copyright infringement.  These hurdles have likely kept the larger media giants preoccupied over the last few years as DRM laws evolve and legal precedents develop.  Viacom for instance, in a high-profile lawsuit issued against YouTube, sought an incredible $1 billion in copyright infringement damages arguing that over 150,000 unauthorized clips of its material had been viewed an astounding 1.5 billion times on the popular video sharing site.
Networks such as ABC and the BBC rather than fostering partnerships with YouTube are now, just recently, launching their own proprietary online video sites offering full episodes of their programs in either standard or high definition format. Both the ABC video player and the BBC iPlayer unfortunately block IP addresses from outside their respective countries requiring people to (if they’re Web-savvy enough) use proxy tools to access the network’s content.

Witnessing the proliferation of online video sites, it’s with no surprise YouTube clearly remains the leader with almost 50% market share according to the latest statistics compiled by comScore Inc.

According to comScore, a staggering 11 billion videos were viewed online in July 2008. Google video (including YouTube) accounted for almost 5 billion while closest rival, Fox Interactive (including MySpaceTV) had 445 million views while number three on the list: Microsoft, served more than 280 million videos.
More interesting statistics from comScore: nearly 75 percent of all Americans viewed a video online in July 2008 watching an average of more than 230 minutes of video during the month. These are incredible numbers when you consider not even 10 years ago online video was virtually nonexistent, merely an idea.

Here’s an interesting post from Today, 13 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute, and we believe the volume will continue to grow exponentially. Our goal is to allow every person on the planet to participate by making the upload process as simple as placing a phone call.” Combine these numbers with recent changes to Youtube’s video uploader which now allows people to upload files up to 1 GB in size compared to their previous limit of 100 MB and we can expect to see a significant rise the number (and quality) of videos available online.

Further Reading has a good post with some interesting statistics and perspective on Key trends for online video ads and content.