Among the questions we’ve asked our panel of experts was this one: Which video companies won’t last 2008?
Selections from their responses are below. You’ll notice that everyone seems to think somebody‘s going to fail next year, but their chosen sacrifices just happen to be the opposite of the business they have a stake in. Our correspondence with the panelists happened over email, but it would have been interesting to see them point fingers if they’d all been in the same room.
We’d love to hear your take on the question or on our panelists’ predictions in the comments. For more information on the NewTeeVee 2008 outsourced predictions, see this post.
“To be successful in the online video space, you need to have either massive scale, access to a variety of differentiated premium content, or both. If you are running an online video company that features non-premium, commodity content and you missed the Internet ‘network effect’ enjoyed by YouTube and a few others, it might be time to cash out.”
“Sadly, the second-tier video sites this year will sell to larger companies or fade away. The gulf between market share of YouTube and the rest of the herd has widened dramatically in 2007. Most online offerings sort out into one or two major players, but a sleuth of more niche options. The video companies that will die may have the best technology, but ultimately couldn’t get people to watch or advertisers to buy.
“I think Revver is a good example of a creator-friendly technology that could have been appraised nearly as high as YouTube but the market prized eyeballs above all else. Unless something changes, I don’t see Revver making it past 2008 and it breaks my heart. Currently the company is running AdSense ads to pay the bills, and they’re perceived as undifferentiated middleware. Ultimately, it’s very hard to simultaneously win content providers, viewers and advertisers, and once someone accumulates an audience they are hard to leapfrog.
The online video sites that try to compete with YouTube on a similar playing field are doomed unless they are strongly backed financially. LiveVideo proved that. Any video site that isn’t serving a niche will struggle, yet it’s hard for a large player to relegate itself to a niche.”
George Ruiz, head of new media at International Creative Management (online video talent agent):
“The ones that solely re-purpose content from the big media companies
without offering something new or exclusive to differentiate themselves
from every other video company. That will involve partnering with talent
to develop and produce original content. Call me.”
“Any of the companies who have raised $15 million or more and are running out
of funds now are in serious danger. You can make your own list from
there. The rest of the economy of this country is in the toilet. In
2008 that will catch up to new media companies as VC’s decide that no
one has really figured out a damn thing yet. That will be a great
time for the established entertainment and media companies to start
shopping for their acquisition targets.
“Look for lots of strategic
partnerships between traditional media companies and new media
companies in the first half of 2008. Those deals will lay the
groundwork for eventual acquisitions.”
“Video ad networks with no targeting technology and sub-scale video hosting companies.”
Max Silvestri, Gabe and Max’s Internet Thing (web video comedian):
“I am going to go against the grain and say that despite everyone
saying that it is the future, WebTV is not going to last. Sorry.”