Yahoo’s declaration this week that it is going to take on YouTube might sound like a great soundbite, but the reality of Yahoo (or for that matter anyone) catching up with THE YouTube is going to be a tough task. In May 2007, Yahoo had 4.6 percent of the total online video streams, in comparison with YouTube’s 21.5 percent of the total market, with 1.7 billion of Google’s 1.8 billion total streams coming from YouTube, according to comScore.
Yahoo wants to use music videos, movie trailers, and other content to build an attractive destination site, Mike Folgner, Yahoo’s general manager for video told Bloomberg.
One of our strategies is to put video everywhere you are on the Internet …. We’re going to build a much better destination for you to access all this different content.
Easier said than done. Why do I say that? Look at YouTube’s history: it became popular because from the very beginning it didn’t try to be a destination, using viral distribution to get traction. Even today, people’s perception of YouTube is that it is not a destination. So far, video destination sites have not been a success.
Look at it another way, Google tried to compete with YouTube with a strategy similar to Yahoo’s plan. It didn’t work, and they had to buy YouTube.
Folgner boasted that Yahoo has deals with all sorts of music labels (some of them also do business with YouTube) and now they will bring them to one site. Sure, but people who like to watch video are on the other site.
The popular social photo-sharing site Flickr, is going to add video, he said. We have heard this before, and even if it is true, I am not sure that is a good idea, because Flickr works because of its elegance and special focus on digital photos.