Demonstrating the power of video and the Internet, another start-up (upstart?) on the web is at the center of a new craze. Called YouTube, a site devoted to sharing short video clips, has gone from a little known corner on the Internet to a busy, bustling site that gets over 35,000 videos posted to it each day, and at last count had well over 30 million people a day, tuning in to watch video clips. Started by two California geeks in their twenties who were just fooling around with easier ways to allow people to share videos over the internet, this venture has become the hottest thing in media in a very short time. Similar to the mushrooming popularity of MySpace, which was purchased by Rupert Murdoch of Fox News fame for almost 600 million dollars, this Napster-like idea for video seems poised for a similar fate.In fact, YouTube has attracted many of their fans from the MySpace fan base. The actual company is based above a pizza parlor in a suburb to the Northwest of the Bay Area, and the two running the site say that their venture is a cross between America's Funniest Home Videos and Entertainment tonight. Certainly, the site runs the gamut in featuring everything from amateur videos to professionally produced spots from a few Fortune 500 companies. Hollywood Movie Studios are putting short clips there, hoping to attract attention to a sagging industry. There are postings, which infringe on copyrights, and the site has removed those clips.
They want to remain in good standing for obvious reasons. A Saturday Night Live skit that was removed is a good example. Ironically, that skit is now up on the official NBC site. Currently, YouTube restricts clips posted to their site to ten minutes or less of duration, thinking that this requirement will stop most copyright infringement issues. Google and Yahoo, as well as some smaller players have been endeavoring to get into online video, but none have yet had the success of YouTube. While they are attempting to prohibit the more adult themed clips on the site, they keep popping up, and some mainstream companies are worried about being linked with offensive content. The company stops repeat offenders from posting this type of content, but experts insist that it could be months before this is solved. Moreover, no one knows the long-term prognosis for a company like this. Napster soared to great popularity, only to be shut down, and then rise again, in a much different and legal form. Already mentioned on the morning news and financial shows, this free site shows no sign of slowing down, except for the rush of media coverage that may have crashed the site temporarily with a rush of viewers. The site has put up an electronic Chinese puzzle; I suspect this is only temporary. For a company that began less than a year ago, YouTube has proven that technology, video, the Internet and some creativity will continue to inspire, entertain and surprise us.
Posted by larry dixon at 15:13:00. Filed under: General