Last week my good friend and Stanford GSB classmate Diego Feldberg started twittideo, a vlog that he references via twitter, as soon as he got his iPhone 3GS. This reminded me of the recent discussion regarding online social video and I just wanted to add my 2 cents with this post.
Last month Loic Le Meur announced that Seesmic would focus its efforts on its twitter desktop client because their video side was not growing fast enough. 12seconds.tv replied that growth does exist but that conversations happen on twitter: “Twitter is the platform – video is a big part of it”.
While I totally understand Loic’s decision of refocusing Seesmic, I don’t think social video is over. On the contrary, I believe it has not started, most probably because nobody has found the right formula yet.
Let’s quickly look at some recent facts:
- YouTube saw a 400% increase in video uploads following the launch of the 3GS.
- Cisco’s CEO predicted that video chat will increase tenfold between 2008 and 2013
- According to Nielsen, online video is becoming mainstream, going well beyond the early adopters
- Like Irwin Lazar points out in his blog, Polycom beat Wall Street earnings estimates, with video products sales leading it’s growth, and Glowpoint, a provider of managed services for video conferencing, announced record earnings
Agreed, online video in general and social video in particular is a very challenging space. Apart from the high costs, it’s difficult to develop loyalty in consumers that don’t always have the required tools to post a video. However, like the 3GS YouTube upload increase proves, when they do have the tools, they are willing to experiment.
Perhaps the right model is not 12seconds.tv or Seesmic or some version of YouTube, but social video will happen. The key is that it will be consumers and not companies who will be dictating how and when social video happens. Companies have to be as open and responsive as possible with their services to let users do what they want and the way they want to. I can’t wait to see it happen.