Friday, April 25, 2008

The .TV bust

Could it be....could it just be, that for the second time in less than a decade, we are going to see the decline of streaming media as a business?

I need to put together my thoughts on this, but I was talking about this with a friend today, and it's very possible that 2008 will see an implosion in online video.

- YouTube still isn't profitable.
- Brightcove hasn't democratized anything, really, besides offering a lot of infrastructure-as-a-service, at the cost of gold.
- Move Networks claims to solve the buffering problem(isn't that easily done with a Java script selector that selects the appropriate stream based on your bandwidth?).
Feedroom, Maven, Veoh, Grouper, Blinkx, KickApps, thePlatform, etc. etc....there's a huge list.

So a lot of money went into all this. I think Brightcove and Move stole the show on money raised with about $150mm between both of them. Add $1.6B that went into Google-YouTube. Add $5mm on average for another 50-odd Internet video companies.
Adds up to around $2 billion dollars.

That's what's been pumped into online video so far.
And about 3-odd years have gone by since YouTube became a noun and a verb. And a synonym.

Is the business of online video a myth? Or are we doing something very fundamentally wrong?

I'd say it's probably the latter, and I'm going to spend some time mulling this through.

But I do know this- in any other Internet business, if you had as much activity(500K user accounts, 100 million videos viewed a day), if your site consumed as much bandwidth in a year as the entire Internet did 7 years ago, and if your revenues were still "immaterial", then there'd be lots more introspection going on.
And these wouldn't be very pleasant introspective sessions, I'm sure.

[ to be continued...]