I have been thinking quite a bit about online video lately, specifically YouTube. Fred’s got a thoughtful post on the topic, where he argues:
YouTube wasn’t first and they didn’t beat the big guys to market.
But they did do three things, that in combination secured them a
leadership position that to me looks pretty unassailable.
First they launched with a really slick flash player that almost
everyone else has now copied. They bet on flash and they were right.
For video playback on the web, flash is the way to go.
Second, they provided immediate playback. When Google Video launched, I uploaded a video and had to wait for days to see it playback. Needless to say, I’ve never uploaded another video to Google.
Third, and this is the biggie, they provided an easy way to embed
their flash player and a specific video in another web page. This too
has been copied by most everyone in the online video business. But if
you go back and look at YouTube’s traffic, the day they let people
embed their videos in MySpace pages is the day they took off and never
I agree with Fred that the third one’s the one that made all the difference. I am curious about the interdependencies that this creates, though. The bulk of video content on MySpace resides on YouTube. That makes MySpace vulnerable to the potential of YouTube erecting walls around its videos (not that I think that’s likely). However, it is a vulnerability. If I were MySpace, I’d like to try to copy the videos linked to on my domain to protect myself.