Over the last few days, and even for the last few months since the rumor began, I've been asked countless times what it means to Viddler that Flickr just jumped into the video-sharing space. So, instead of answering the questions one-by-one, or avoiding the topic publicly altogether, I think it is time to address the elephant in the room and let you know what I think this means for Viddler, and everyone else.
I think it is great that Flickr has joined the online video sharing space. I think it is great for Flickr, its members, the online video sharing market, and in-turn; Viddler.
A quick side note: I will not be addressing the whole "Should Flickr have video." debate we've seen since they've launched. I realize some photographers do not want "their Flickr" muddled by videos, but we can't ignore the fact that Flickr does have video now whether or not you like it.
Point one: Crumbs shall fall
Flickr's entry into the video sharing space is incredibly focused. Flickr only allows people to upload 150Mb video files (or less) and only a play time duration up to 90-seconds. This saves their community more than I think they even realize. This saves the Flickr community from dealing with pirated TV shows and movies popping up all over the place. It saves the Flickr community from becoming the next place to upload your podcast (unless of course your podcast is only 90 seconds long). I would say that Flickr's limitations will help keep the "noise" down really, really well.
But it also means something else; Flickr users that find themselves wanting to go outside of the limitations, will need to find somewhere to upload their videos. I think the "crumbs that fall from Flickr's table" will end up falling on other video sharing sites. Lets face it, some of the people that have uploaded video to Flickr have never uploaded video to the Internet before. Ladies and gentlemen, the video sharing market just grew. And no matter who you are, this is good for the industry.
In case you're curious: Viddler offers a 500Mb per-file upload limitation at an unlimited play time duration. Oh, and you can upload as many files as you'd like to.
Point two: Will people pay?
The other unique point of interest is that Flickr's video features are not free. Flickr only allows their Pro members to upload videos and as such they are, unwittingly or not, showing that people will pay to upload video. In fact, they are doing something a bit beyond that. They are showing that people will pay to upload short-form video. Obviously Flickr already has a Pro-member base that will be uploading videos, but if their Pro-member base grows by only a few percent, it will be statistics that all of the other video-sharing sites will be able to use to their advantage.
In other words; If people are willing to spring for a Flickr Pro account just to upload 90-second clips from their family vacations, surely others would be willing to pay to upload long-form content. I think this is one of the larger points that the rest of the industry can really take note of.
At present, all of Viddler's offerings are completely free.
All-in-all I think Flickr's video solution is perfect for their community. I know they've hinted at allowing longer than 90-second clips, but I don't see that happening for a while. As the video-sharing market expands, both in user-base and companies offering the technology, I believe there is more opportunity for innovation and and quality service, rather than less.
Kudos to the Flickr team for launching a well balanced product that I know, as I have with past Flickr endeavors, I will be sure to learn from.