Vimeo Lures Content Creators with 90% Revenue Shares, Sends Message to YouTube

This week, Vimeo announced that it was launching a forward looking Video on Demand service.

Now video and film producers can rent or sell their videos at a price of their choosing and keep 90% of the proceeds. This is a radical new approach for independents who can’t afford to give iTunes or Amazon a 30% to 50% cut or who create shorter content not suited for these distributors. Producers can also embed the service on their website.

Vimeo’s new service will not revolutionize the movie industry or the video hosting landscape overnight, but it will lure more independent producers to its platform.

Until now, only a small number of professional Video Hosting platforms had offered this type of service to independents and in most cases, it required a good deal of work to set up. I spent a good deal of time studying the question last year as I was preparing to launch my own independent online video rental service, Motivideos. As I discovered, because the custom options offered by the leading platforms ran in the six figures, short of using iTunes or Amazon small production companies could only afford to use limited solutions offered by companies catering to niche markets.

VIMEO’s news followed YouTube’s January announcement that it was going to test paid subscriptions for some carefully selected channels. Until then, YouTube had focused on adverstising. That’s how overnight wonder Psy managed to rack in over $8 million from his 1 billion plus views. But it is now  trying to offer a steadier stream of revenue for its most popular producers and to slow the loss of ad revenue to Mobile.

YouTube’s announcement showed a desire to operate more like a studio and curate content from the top down instead of letting the good stuff rise to the top, which had been its strategy until now. It is adopting a more traditional programming strategy to fight the onslaught of the Media conglomerate marketing machines, which have steadily chipped at its online dominance. YouTube also wants to prevent its most successful celebrities from leaving as they are being lured to the airwaves by more attractive contracts.

Paid subscriptions is a way for YouTube to solidify its relationship with creators who don’t want to worry about negotiating product placements but want to focus on their craft. Meanwhile VIMEO, YouTube’s more artsy and professional rival, does not feel the need to curate because it is already the favorite of more experienced independent film and video producers.

Vimeo is already all grown up and entrenched with independent producers. Its new Video on Demand offering will most likely solidify this partnership and help it become the online equivalent of HBO. While YouTube will most likely continue to be the older brother suffering from an identity crisis and who is taking a lot longer to grow up.


Apple’s AirPlay is the Future of TV

Little attention has been given to AirPlay since its September 2010 launch because Apple put more emphasis on marketing its key products like the iPhone and the iPad. But if you read about or play around with AirPlay, you will get a glimpse of Apple’s long-term TV strategy.

AirPlay is embedded in the Apple ecosystem and provides the software bridge the iPad and iPhone need to run video on your TV. Thanks to AirPlay, your AppleTV morths from a video player into an extension of your iOS device. Theoretically, anything you do and see on your iPad and iPhone can now be viewed on your TV screen. You can watch movies, play games and even work on your TV screen.

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The Media Empires Strike Back at YouTube

Image representing YouTube as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

YouTube’s position in the hot Online Video world is eroding faster than most think. The latest data suggests that Traditional TV is gaining momentum as it increasingly engages viewers online.

Last week, Ooyala, the Online Video Platform, came to very significant conclusions in its Global Video Index Report for Q1 2012. In particular, two of them caught my eye: “Longer is Stronger” and Mobile Video is continuing its explosive growth, with smartphone-viewing growing 41% and tablet-viewing growing 32% over the previous quarter.

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Design Lessons Courtesy of Starbucks, Apple and Common Craft?

I have been spending a great deal of time in my “new offices,” aka Starbucks and Panera Bread, and I often wondered why I liked the former more than the latter. So I went to both places on the same day and the reason suddenly jumped at me. And then I noticed the similarities with Apple, Common Craft and the web at large.

Starbucks uses a simple open layout with many different seating options adapted to various uses (writing, meetings, PC use, conversation, or just sipping coffee). It offers many power outlets and has great music. Panera on the other hand often introduces weird and sometimes claustrophobic floor plans with walls and dark areas, offers limited power outlets and limits Wifi use during lunchtime.

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The Internet can be a cruel place where babies send 8 year olds home crying. This fate may now be awaiting another Internet Goliath and yes you guessed it, I am talking about YouTube.

Before you pull the knives out, consider the recent news from Flurry, a mobile advertising company. According to them, traffic to Video Giant YT has decreased 10% in 2012 while mobile apps like Viddy and SocialCam have been growing exponentially. And as if this wasn’t bad enough, engagement with these new tools is going through the roof! The explanation often given for this new trend is the ease of use of these new apps, amazingly powerful editing features and the increasing use of Mobile Devices by young people who snob PCs.

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YouTube’s Strategic Gamble Gives Heartburn to YouTubers

For years, Youtube’s ambitions have been buoyed by all the talk about its incredible growth and position on the Web. Not surprisingly, its ambition has also grown exponentially and recent developments clearly show it intends to be the next big thing in Television.

If you read my last post, you surely noted that YT is actively working on improving the quality of its search results in order to improve viewer engagement. As I wrote then, this algorithm change will have a profound impact on the YouTube-verse as it will favor producers and celebrities who create popular episodic programs. This was in fact not an isolated tactic but part of the great strategic plan that we have seen unfold during the past few months.

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When to Use YouTube or Not

One of my earlier posts dedicated to YouTube generated lots of discussion on LinkedIn. Readers seemed to be torn between the need to be seen by millions of other YouTube users, the difficulty to rise above the fray, the need for better video library management and good analytics.

The main reason everyone likes YouTube is because it is the second most used search engine on the web and it is believed that YouTube videos are more visible on Google, which is the parent company of YouTube. Recent developments seem to rebuke the second argument in favor of using YouTube. In my second to last post, I explained how Google seemed to be using an agnostic approach to ranking videos and how this was good news for all the video hosting platforms and their users.

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Will Online Video and YouTube Kill Cable?

There has been a lot of speculation that Online Video would kill cable companies sooner or later. In this post, I will make the argument that these conclusions may be hasted.

On April 17, ReelSEO’s Tim Schmoyer, laid out the arguments and commented on them in his VLOG. Basically, the argument can be summarized like this: online services like Netflix and Hulu + will put cable out of business because no one wants to pay $86 a month for cable. But if you spend a little time deconstructing these costs you quickly realize that the argument simply does not hold up.

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News Flash: Google Becomes Video Platform Agnostic

A recent post on ReeSEO provided some great  information that should help video producers make better informed decisions about where to publish their content. In this post, Mark Robertson shows how he figured out Google’s recently implemented video indexing approach.

The conclusion of his post is that publishing one’s video on YouTube is not only going to give one great visibility on the second biggest SE in the world, it will now also help any website that’s embedding it be more visible on Google. Therefore Mark rightfully points out that any Video Hosting platform with the Unique Selling Proposition that embedding YouTube videos is not enough to rank one site’s on Google will now be out of business. Of course, most of these competing platforms have other selling propositions, as I mentioned in one of my earlier posts.

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