Sunday, November 23, 2008

YouTube fights back. I didn't watch.

Last night after weeks of 'quiet hype' on the YouTube blog and elsewhere, Google launched YouTube Live.

There are already some lessons to be learned, as the reviews (mostly bad), continue to roll-in.

Prior to the launch, there had been numerous articles on how people were adopting Hulu in large numbers.  I've written about Hulu here since the private beta, and I am still a die-hard Hulu fan.


I spend some (much more lately) of my time in the 'real world'.  I occasionally miss a TV show that I enjoy  and I can sit back with my wife anytime and watch that missed episode.  It's really that simple.  Hulu's easy and simple interface is great .... and we usually discover something else after.

Web video is still in transition.  MOST people simply don't have the time to watch blog videos at anywhere near the level they are being produced.

A good example would be Robert Scoble.  Scoble, who recently returned from China (and at last check on Friendfeed was editing gobs of footage for Fast Company), had been pounced on more than a few times for hyping the trip in Twitter and Friendfeed, while here at home, many were thinking about one thing ... their jobs. 

I DID view some of Scoble's China photos on Flickr which I found to be not only thought provoking and even somewhat fascinating, but also amazing 'clear', thanks to his state-of-the-art camera equipment and the recent hyper advances in photo technology.

Will I watch the Fast Company video ?  The honest answer is maybe.

Like so many others, I still watch 'most' video on TV and when I'm here on the web, it's usually TV programming.

YouTube is a different animal.  I took to the platform a few months ago with my wife and it was fun.  It wasn't a promotional video. It was a family video congratulating our daughter on her engagement.  The one thing I can say is that YouTube positively made it easy.  It wasn't 'production quality'. It wasn't meant to be.  YouTube converted the uploaded format in seconds.  Most other video platforms limit the format you can use.

YouTube Live made mistakes.

Perhaps the biggest boo-boo was launching it on a huge night for American College Football.  Techies and others that embrace YouTube may not talk about it online often but a LARGE number are football fans.  YouTube lost me briefly last night.  I honestly forgot all about it.  (Penn State vs YouTube is simply a no-brainer :)

Looking at the launch this morning, I found one redeeming quality.

While the are literally tens of thousands of people trying to get that one viral video out there and stake their claim in Internet video fame, YouTube Live has provided a new vehicle.

There's a real good chance that a few people I noticed on the front page will achieve that status over a short period of time.  The challenge of course, will be keeping it that way in an increasingly crowded field.

I'm tempted to think that with smartphones now everywhere and bloggers doing almost anything they can to remain at the forefront, the tech community is sometimes forgetting that the larger part of the population still lives MOSTLY in the 'real world', and part-time on the web and / or tethered to a smartphone.

Yahoo's recent marketing change is a great example.  Less huge signs in major tech centers and MUCH more radio advertising.  People still listen to the radio in their cars and that's not going to change any time soon.  ComScore's recent numbers on Yahoo show an INCREASE (mostly overlooked in the press).  Whether or not they can pull a turn-around is another story entirely.

There's only so much time in a day and whether or not people embrace online video (and where) is still, very much, an open question ..... and a tremendous challenge for those producing it.

Have a GREAT weekend all