Over at Giga, Rags Gupta offers some interesting thoughts about where the market for online video is headed. Here is the link.
Here is the plot line. Technology already has already pushed the cost of creating and publishing text and images to close to zero. This allows us all to be publishers. When we all can be publishers, we need platforms that help us use the content that we now can create. Social networking sites like Facebook do that by organizing how we “share” text and images. They harvest value from sharing and stimulate more production. Or at least, this is how we see things now. But we are just beginning to figure this stuff out.
Meanwhile, there is another revolution in the works. Technology is also pushing the cost of creating and distributing video to close to zero. What happens when we all can be movie producers? Rags suggests that we will see enhanced platforms that will enable us to find and use the video that we now can and will create. Sort of like social networking for video. And perhaps, social networking platforms like Facebook are best positioned to figure out how to do that.
I agree with Rags that curation and filtering will be important for capturing more value from the video that will be made by professional producers. In this arena, a marriage of Netflix and Facebook might make sense. It would allow us to chat more about what we see and want to see. But something else may be in the works too. When we all are able to make video, we all will have the potential to capture value from video itself (not just consume it). Consider two aspects of video that are different than text and images
First, video is much more powerful than text. Chris Anderson is already telling this story. So the upcoming explosion of video offers a lot more potential for exchanges of meaning than we can get from sharing text and images. How much more? Who knows. But Chris thinks it could be as important as the switch from the bow and arrow to the rifle or from the horse to the car. So the explosion of video creation will mean more than just more movies and TV shows. We are likely to see new types of video and new types of platforms that are designed specifically to harvest the new value that we can get from them. I think TED is an early model that is evolving from this way of thinking.
Second, while the costs of making video will be trivial, making quality video will still be more complicated and time consuming than making text or taking photos. This suggests that quite a lot of the video we will see at first will be poor quality. It also suggests that those who learn faster how to make quality video will have a competitive advantage because they will be able to create and share more powerful stories. Who knows. Maybe they will create their own platforms too as the cost of platform generation also continues to fall.
So hold onto your hats. Almost all of the above enhanced publishing capacities are new. That suggests whatever we say now will look rather quaint in a few years.
FOLLOW - Sean Parker’s comments on why MySpace lost out to Facebook gives a sense of how our understanding of platform dynamics is evolving. Here is the link.