Monday, November 20, 2006

Video in The Netherlands: general overview (1)

Video is hot. Perhaps after the sale of YouTube it is already over the top. Reality is that video sites are popping up all over the place and related to this is the rise of user generated content.

Last week I got a fine general impression of what is going on. During the Cross Media Café, organised by the iMMovator Network in the broadcast city of Hilversum, a general overview (instalment 1) as well as an overview of video activities in The Netherlands (instalment 2) was presented.

Monique van Dusseldorp of Van Dusseldorp presented in 54 PowerPoint slides a general overview of what is happening in the video world. She started out with pointing to Flicker. She made clear that Flickr was not only an inventory of photographs, but that it also generated its own crazy categories like the League of Empty Chairs and What’s in your bag? The same category urge is seen in YouTube. After the choreography of on the threadmill, even a shrimp is simulated on the threadmill. And who does not remember the Mentos and the Croft-bomb crazes? And do not forget the Michael J. Fox and Bush Sucks videos. The videos also lead to formats, like Noah who takes every day a picture of himself for 6 years or like the guy who sends himself a message to be viewed over 5 years. Also the section Video and News is interesting especially for the political bloopers like the napping US senator or drunk Belgian politician.

A review of the services available on the web was presented, including Planet3, Revver and Dabble. But of course most interest of the participants went out to the money schemes. These schemes range from banners, display ads and sponsoring for the site operator to payment for a movie to a user/citizen. Especially for the news sector this last option is interesting.

Video is not only an issue of internet. It also affects internet TV, but also traditional TV. With all the movies an internet TV channel can be set up like Current TV. But from the delivered movies also a selection can be programmed. In fact both options do not exclude each other. Besides the combination of these options will give the programme a longer tail and more viewers.

In the video world there are presently no fixed formats. Besides searching is mostly still based on text search, although Dabble is trying to change this. Also money earning schemes and the payment to citizens are not fixed. A question which was not touched in this presentation was the question of copyright. What happens if a movie is copied from a site; who is going after this or start suing?

In the break of the programme I had a talk with a colleague blogger, who posed the question as to the origin of the user generated content. Why is user generated content now a craze and was it not so 25 years ago. I personally see a historical explanation in the fact that it is the scarcity of media and availability of tools. In the newspaper era, an editor-in-chief could at best publish a page of letters-to-the-editor, while these days publishers can open a site and publish all the reactions. Besides people did not really have the tools of a computer and broadband. I believe that broadband really is the breakthrough. Texts are okay, but photographs and video are more engaging. And you need broadband for that. My friend Walter in South Africa can not look through all the pics and videos as he is still on dial-up with no real competition in South Africa. He will only start looking or even sending in videos, when he has broadband. Of course the question still remains why people want to send in a video or pic? Because they want to be part of a news or entertainment fact or do they do it for instant gratification?

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Blog Posting Number: 577

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