The Future of Video

28 04 2010

I attended the “Future of Video” session hosted by the MIT/Stanford Venture Lab in Mountain View last night.  The focus of the discussion was on the future of video-on-demand type of viewing rather on than on real time video communications.   Here are some quick facts to start with.

Video Statistics

  • Internet video will overtake TV video in 11-15 years assuming the current rate of growth remains constant.  Some think it will accelerate.
  • 3% of AT&T Wireless customers are using 40% of the bandwidth.  These are their iPhone users.
  • 20 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute.

The Panel

  • David Price – Harmonic Inc.
  • Paul Wehrley – Clicker COO/Founder
  • Michael Yang – Comcast Interactive Capital (Comcast Venture)
  • David McIntosh – Redux CEO
  • Margaret Stewart – YouTube UI Manager
  • Eric Hackenburg – Metacafe CEO

There were too many topics covered to discuss them all here, but one of the big themes was a continuation of the discussion from the “Real Time Web” discussion of a week ago: How are users going to find what they are interested in among the sheer quantity of video available on the Internet?

Both Clicker and Redux have sites that use crowdsourcing techniques to help rate and recommend videos to their audience.  Neither site hosts the video content.  They both want to be the Internet equivalent to “TV Guide.  Redux had an interesting capability in that you can click a button to show continuous video

Finding Videos of Interest

The panel all agreed on these key approaches:

  • Curation, where an editor-type person picks the best.  This worked well for traditional media but has problems scaling to the volumes we see on the Internet.
  • Crowdsourcing, where your preferences are matched with preferences of your friends to recommend content.
  • Recommendation engines, such as on Amazon.  These make recommendations based on previous viewing and purchases.


The panel all agreed that there were three main ways to monetize video.

  • Subscription pricing.
  • Advertising
    • Pre-Roll
    • Post-Roll
    • Interstertional
  • T-Commerce or TV-Commerce.  This is where you offer the chance to buy items you see or hear in the video.  This has not worked well in the past.  Video viewing is seen as a “lean-back experience,” not a shopping experience.

Live Events on Internet Video Sites

It is already happening.

  • YouTube live U2 concert.
  • YouTube coverage of the Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket matches.
  • CBS broadcasts of the NCAA Tournament and the Masters Tournament.

If all of this is interesting, check out the MIT/Stanford Venture Lab site for future events.




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