Wednesday, April 16, 2008

What Do You Really Watch Online?

PluggedIn launched today with most of the major music labels joining in. As TechCrunch puts it, its the Hulu for music video. The site is a great looking site as its powered by Move Networks - the same company that powers and other high quality video sites. Investors include Will Smith and they hope to monetize through ancillary product sales (i.e. affiliate revenue).

I think that PluggedIn could possibly work but here's the catch: You need to take traffic from YouTube. And being that YouTube has a stronghold on the video community it will be hard to do. But what's even harder is the same problem that is plaguing Hulu. The content is NOT EXCLUSIVE! There's a major disconnect between Hulu,, MySpaceTV, and the folks that place content on YouTube. Content creators have simply said that they'd like to spread their content in as many places as possible on the web even at the cost of a start up that they co-own. Simply put, if Hulu (or PluggedIn, for that matter) had exclusive access to the NBC/FOX library or to music video they would be hugely successful. Yet they don't. And further, if the content creators really want to have their content all over the place, why do they disable the embeds on YouTube...(yes this is right, see for yourself on Avril Lavigne's GirlFriends video).

What is the reason for this? I think folks are still trying to find an effective way to monetize video. Bandwidth now is a huge consideration and if YouTube is giving it away ... for free.... then that's a tough proposition. Broadcast TV had no marginal cost to deliver programming to every incremental household. Internet does. And when that's the case, you have to go with what you know: free delivery - i.e. YouTube. So until we can come up with a way to monetize more effectively, the answer to 'What do you really watch online?' is simple. We watch YouTube.

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