Colin Devroe

Reverse Engineer. Blogger.

The near future of online video

March 27, 2007

I’ve decided that I am going to rip through my SXSW notes, pull out the best bits, and try to give my thoughts on them. I tried, unsuccessfully, to write up my panel thoughts into something of some value – but I found that all of the posts I tried to put together were long-winded, boring, and lacked focus.

Ok, on with my point before this too gets unwieldy.

The panelists

The Panelists

In the “Better than 1,000 Words: Video on the Web” panel one of the panelists said: “The problem is finding the good stuff, not that it doesn’t exist” which came from the panel’s thoughts on YouTube. And I completely agree with them. The amount of content on YouTube, and many other large video community sites, is staggering and it is being created and distributed so fast it feels like a runaway train. This has always been the challenge of the web – finding the signal inside of the noise. I believe that smaller communities will emerge, dedicated and focused on a singular idea or genre of video, and it won’t matter what video service you use because all of the content will be automatically aggregated and segregated. Unless of course your content is best suited for these services flagship technologies. We’re already seeing sites and services that do this, and even build ranking systems on top of them – but I believe we’ll start to see much more refinement in this process to where the communities are very, very focused.

For instance, many video sharing services build groups or channels to pool videos together in an attempt to create and foster those communities around a specific topic or genre. And this is fine and dandy, but we’re going to see a lot of these groups and channels branch out into entire sites decided to that topic or genre. Some of them are popping up already, but I really do believe that we’re going to start seeing communities that form around very specific criteria – perhaps even within age groups, sexes, or geographic location. Again, the problem isn’t that the quality doesn’t exist out there – it is just hard to find it unless someone does some work to help separate it out.

So how will this happen? Obviously there has been a lot of development in making it very easy to upload and share video online, and the infrastructures that are behind these services are years ahead of anyone starting on day one. So how do these communities develop? They’ll leverage (Web 2.0 expression borrowed from Andy, thanks Andy) the existing services, their APIs, their features, and their infrastructure and build community specific features ontop of them to allow their respective communities to flourish without constraint.

So I agree that it is difficult to find really good content on some of these larger communities, but I think we’ll stop looking at these larger communities for the content soon – and we’ll look more to the focused communities that still use the same technologies as these services with a little bit of salt, pepper, and (insert your favorite spice name here) to allow the content to shine above all else.

Oh, and even if I wasn’t consulting for Viddler I would say that I believe Viddler will be one of the leaders in this new wave of how video is being shared online. Again, in the near future.

UPDATE: Loren is right, Jeff Jarvis is not the future of online video. 🙂

[tags]video, online, sharing, viddler, youtube, sxsw, panel, thoughts[/tags]