Voyeurism and the future of Internet video

Global video industry now worth about US$350b and growing

Internet video of the future will be slicker, more widely distributed and more profitable, but the success of this medium to date owes much to pirates, proud parents and people who like to be watched or watch others.

So says Jeremy Allaire, formerly CTO of Flash-maker Macromedia and currently head of Brightcove , which provides technology that lets everyone from independent producers to major broadcast networks deliver video and other content over the Internet (Brightcove in January said it received US$60 million in late-stage funding). His keynote address kicked off Wednesday's sold-out "Brave New Web " conference, a daylong discussion of where the Web is headed that was organized by the MIT Enterprise Forum of Cambridge and that was attended by about 400 people, including entrepreneurs, investors and academics.

"Voyeurism has sort of emerged as a new entertainment category," Allaire said. "I don't think anyone could have anticipated that. We had reality TV, but this is sort of taking it to the next level. The most popular content is highly voyeuristic, and that's something the Internet allows for on a global cultural scale."

Pirated content, which is "just consumers 'helping' copyright holders along" and people publishing videos of their kids' birthday parties and soccer games, also has contributed to the Internet video boom, he noted.

Allaire said that even though Internet video is getting lots of attention these days because of success stories such as YouTube , most people still don't appreciate the size of the opportunity. He said the global video industry is worth about US$350 billion when you add up films, video rentals, cable, traditional broadcasting and more; and that the Internet video market "is truly a rounding error," amounting to maybe .01% of that revenue total. The Internet video market will be rewarded with a big chunk of change if it can shift even 5% of that global market to the Internet over the next 10 years, he said.

The growth of online video is being fueled by a number of factors, including the emergence of digital cameras, application-development technologies and hosting services that make it easier and cheaper to create and distribute video content. What's more, organizations such as newspapers and magazines are themselves morphing into television programmers and video content companies.

"If you look at the share of dollars from that part of the industry and what percentage of their dollars will ultimately shift over to video over the next 10 years, it's pretty staggering," he said, pointing to Brightcove's belief that video on the Internet will one day be as ubiquitous as text on the Web.

Allaire said professional media organizations will have an enormous role in Internet video. Despite technologies that make getting video on the Web easy and inexpensive, "creating good video is really hard and really expensive," he said.

"What we're likely to see this year and next year is a flood of quality video programming coming onto the Web," Allaire said.

Companies are using "blended distribution strategies" to get their video in front of viewers, Allaire said. These include branded channels that go direct to consumers; Web syndication, which involves making content available for others to use on their sites; and tapping aggregation sites where users are known to start their search for content. Brightcove helps its customers in all of these areas, he said.

Content companies are still trying to figure out how to make money on Internet video, Allaire said.

"The dominant [way to make money] is broadband advertising, and we're still in the second inning," Allaire said The formats and policies are still immature, he said.

Getting users to pay for content is another approach, particularly for niche or vertical-market advertising, but this has been less successful than broadband advertising so far, Allaire said. The key here is crossing the "device chasm," in that "you're rarely going to pay money for a high-quality version of something that you're limited to watching on your PC," he said. He pointed to companies such as Apple and Sony that are working on products to make consuming Internet video more palatable.

The bottom line, he said, is that although much content today is free, most content creators want to get paid; and that legal and business processes will be put in place to support that in a bigger way.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Bob Brown

Network World
Show Comments


James Cook University - Master of Data Science Online Course

Learn more >




Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?