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Summary:

While sites everywhere seem to have developed an advertiser-inspired aversion to user-generated video, Facebook is welcoming personal video clips with open arms. Software engineer Chris Putnam, the lead video developer for the site, told me last week that nearly a whopping 40 percent of Facebook video […]

While sites everywhere seem to have developed an advertiser-inspired aversion to user-generated video, Facebook is welcoming personal video clips with open arms. Software engineer Chris Putnam, the lead video developer for the site, told me last week that nearly a whopping 40 percent of Facebook video uploads come from webcams.

While at first I found that stat startling, the more I thought about it, the more it occurred to me that I’ve seen a lot of webcam uploads on Facebook recently, particularly amongst the few people I’m friends with who are still in college. Many of the clips are of the “look at me dancing in my dorm room” or “look at me playing a song on my guitar” variety, and though I personally wouldn’t want my life to be quite so public, one big advantage Facebook offers is you can specify exactly who can and can’t see each of your videos, so there are certainly many more webcam uploads I can’t see.

Facebook receives some 415,000 260,000 video uploads per day, with 155,000 of them directly from webcams. Since a video tab was added to the site’s home page as of the March redesign, video uploads have seen a “significant increase,” said Putnam, though Facebook declined to give specific stats this soon after the release.

Contrary to sites like Hulu and even YouTube, high-quality videos are less important for personal sharing. Only 3-4 percent of all Facebook video uploads are true high definition, according to Putnam, and just 25 percent are considered “high quality.” Indeed, webcam captures are casual, easy and accessible — low standards are basically the point. That cuts down on processing, storage and delivery fees. Not that Facebook is trying to monetize video beyond its normal sidebar ads.

In part, these personal video usage habits have developed from constraints. Facebook has never really emphasized video. While photos have long been one of the site’s most-used features, the video product was developed as a side project at an overnight “hackathon” in January 2007 and released as a demonstration application for the Facebook Platform that May. Since the beginning, users have only been presented with videos their friends are featured in or videos their friends post themselves. There’s no public directory of all videos. Uploading directly from a webcam, however, has always been an option. MySpace, which added that feature last September, told us they get 70,000 video uploads from users per day but declined to break out the percentage that comes from webcams. As did YouTube, which has offered the direct upload option since December 2006.

Though Facebook videos were made embeddable in December — which you’d think would greatly increase public sharing — few people use the feature, in part because only the owner of a video has access to the embed code. (Or it could be that entangling something from Facebook’s privacy settings is just too difficult. The Facebook player for a video I embedded in a NewTeeVee post back in December now states “This video has either been removed from Facebook or is not visible due to privacy settings.” Neither of which are true, according to my account.)

Not to say Facebook wouldn’t be a good platform for public video distribution, given its user base’s strong interest in all sorts of sharing. But when, for example, Katalyst Media set out to launch a web show on Facebook back in February with promotion, advertising and analytics, it had to use the third-party developer Slide’s FunSpace app. Such basic publishing tools currently don’t exist for Facebook videos, though Putnam said they are likely to be added at some point.

In the meantime, Facebook users are pushing forward notions of personal sharing by using video to capture live-action (if a little blurry) moments of their lives. This does seem to be Facebook-specific (or perhaps social network-specific) behavior. Leading personal video service Motionbox, which calls itself a Shutterfly for video, doesn’t even offer webcam uploads, and tells us that users haven’t asked for them. More apt competitors are probably Tokbox and Seesmic, but Facebook blows away their reach.

This article also appeared on BusinessWeek.com.

  1. [...] an audience that is the size of Facebook, any service you introduce can be real big, real fast. (Read the full story on NewTeeVee with additional details.) [...]

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  2. [...] surprises me anymore. A few months ago, they became world’s largest online photo site. Today, Liz Gannes points out over at NewTeeVEe that the site is getting a whopping 260,000 video uploads a day, [...]

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  3. How should a site like HomeCamera (www.homecamera.com) “use” Facebook? It’s something we’re struggling to figure out – ideas, anyone?

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  4. [...] videos are not as popular as Youtube, but the numbers are staggering and growing real fast. Many of them are home videos and shot with [...]

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  5. [...] Liz Gannes reported that statistic after talking to Chris Putnam, a software engineer at Facebook.  She also wrote, "Facebook receives some 260,000 video uploads per day, with 155,000 of them from webcams," which works out to about 59.6 percent.  So it looks like the ratio of webcam clips to other ones must be rising all the time. [...]

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  6. [...] apps for the iPhone (TheAppleBlog) Palm Pre release date tweeted by beta tester (jkOnTheRun) Facebook says some 40% of its videos are webcam uploads (NewTeeVee) What relocating web workers need to consider (WebWorkerDaily) IBM donates smart grid [...]

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  7. [...] che sono insite nella piattaforma. Il nuovo design ha dato maggiore risalto ai video e subito il numero degli upload è salito a circa 415.000 al [...]

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  8. [...] Liz Gannes reported that statistic after talking to Chris Putnam, a software engineer at Facebook.  She also wrote, "Facebook receives some 260,000 video uploads per day, with 155,000 of them from webcams," which works out to about 59.6 percent.  So it looks like the ratio of webcam clips to other ones must be rising all the time. [...]

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  9. [...] di persone! Video e foto sono quotidianamente caricati da tutti gli utenti. Liz Gannes nel blog Newteevee ha riporato dati riguardo la provenienza dei video. Oltre il 40% dei video caricati su Facebook [...]

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  10. [...] los días se suben a Facebook una media de 415,000 videos, de los cuales 115,000 -casi un 40%- provienen de [...]

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  11. [...] Liz Gannes reported that statistic after talking to Chris Putnam, a software engineer at Facebook.  She also wrote, "Facebook receives some 260,000 video uploads per day, with 155,000 of them from webcams," which works out to about 59.6 percent.  So it looks like the ratio of webcam clips to other ones must be rising all the time. [...]

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  12. [...] It hasn’t previously shared the number of videos shared per month, although the company told NewTeeVee last week that it’s getting “415,000 video uploads per day, with 155,000 of them [...]

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  13. [...] It hasn’t previously shared the number of videos shared per month, although the company told NewTeeVee last week that it’s getting “415,000 video uploads per day, with 155,000 of them [...]

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  14. [...] just like Viddyou, Vimeo, Motionbox, Facebook and, oh yeah, YouTube. In fact, Facebook has been extraordinarily successful with personal video lately, generating 415,000 video uploads per [...]

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  15. [...] ago — the video-sharing button on the “publisher” box in its recent redesign have reportedly helped to increase uploads to nearly half a million videos per day. Meanwhile, it has released new [...]

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  16. [...] ago — the video-sharing button on the “publisher” box in its recent redesign have reportedly helped to increase uploads to nearly half a million videos per day. Meanwhile, it has released new [...]

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  17. [...] ago — the video-sharing button on the “publisher” box in its recent redesign have reportedly helped to increase uploads to nearly half a million videos per day. Meanwhile, it has released new [...]

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  18. [...] privacy functions, and are only embeddable by their original uploader. The company recently told us that 40 percent of its uploads come from webcams — this is a very different kind of video [...]

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  19. [...] We had pointed out recently that Facebook was on the verge of becoming a top-ten U.S. video site, when you look at comScore’s number of video viewers. Facebook has never emphasized video and only added it as an example application for its new outside development platform when it launched two years ago. And even today, when it has so many unique video viewers, it has a relatively small number of actual video views. But that makes sense, because the site only allows personal video uploads, and does not promote video or work to bring it in from premium partners. Not that many people are going to be interested in watching your webcam upload. [...]

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  20. [...] Seesmic’s video service enabled users to post public threaded asynchronous video comments on its own site and in the comments sections of participating sites. At times the company had experimented with producing original shows and hosting chat sessions with famous people, but those petered out. We can’t think of a video service offering an exact alternative with the same global and public emphases, but quick-upload video from phones and webcams is definitely growing on larger sites like YouTube and Facebook. [...]

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  21. plz can i use facebook web cam

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  22. im on facebook plz can i use web cam on facebook

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  23. [...] Seesmic’s video service enabled users to post public threaded asynchronous video comments on its own site and in the comments sections of participating sites. At times the company had experimented with producing original shows and hosting chat sessions with famous people, but those petered out. We can’t think of a video service offering an exact alternative with the same global and public emphases, but quick-upload video from phones and webcams is definitely growing on larger sites like YouTube and Facebook. [...]

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  24. [...] Facebook told us it sees a very significant — nearly 40 percent — chunk of its video uploads come from webcams. And at last check Facebook received six times [...]

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  25. If you are uploading from a Mac, try VideoUpLink, it lets you upload multiple videos at a time http://www.photouplink.com/videouplink.htm

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  26. [...] unique viewers than Hulu had for October, though this isn’t too shocking given the nature of short, personal video sharing that goes on on Facebook versus the longer-form viewing that happens on Hulu. But the social [...]

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  27. [...] double the number of unique viewers Hulu had for October – but do remember, Facebook caters to the shorter and more personal videos, as compared to TV show length videos that flood [...]

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  28. [...] unique viewers than Hulu had for October, though this isn’t too shocking given the nature of short, personal video sharing that goes on on Facebook versus the longer-form viewing that happens on Hulu. But the social [...]

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  29. [...] than Hulu.  Newteevee.com says this actually isn’t shocking due to ”the nature of short, personal video sharing that goes on Facebook versus the longer-form viewing that happens on [...]

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  30. [...] of unique viewers than Hulu had for October, though this isn’t too shocking given the nature of short, personal video sharing that goes on on Facebook versus the longer-form viewing that happens on Hulu. But the social [...]

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  31. [...] pretty substantially over the past year. Last March, Facebook said that it received on average 415,000 video uploads a day, or about 12 million a month, 40 percent of which came directly from webcams. And as more mobile [...]

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