Friday, December 29, 2006

When will we take web video live ...

It has been a huge year for video on the web; Google buying You Tube; cover of Time magazine; launch of the Edwards campaign etc. So what will the next trick be? In the spirit of New Year predictions from opinionated bloggers I am throwing this into the ring.

Redistribution of streaming video.

Web 2.0 is not just about the funky technologies such as AJAX, it is also, in a large way, about bringing people into the network, about the conversations between people. With the current generation of web video applications the conversation is still languishing in the realm of comments and forums, asynchronous posting. In this current era of Instant Messaging and Blackberry addicted mobile workers this is not going to be good enough for long.

At some point in 2007 one of the big web video players, or some small outfit out to disrupt the market, will cotton onto this and launch a product that will allow people to stream live video to the web.

Obviously this can be done now, but not on the web scale. It is at the moment in the same state that web video was in 2005. People can stream live content on a personal, small scale only.

This is not going to be a separate function, but instead will enhance their current offerings. Shows will be recorded and offered in the same way that web video currently is, but the live aspect will create an event experience which is missing.

I have for some time being struggling to find a way to express this idea better, and I'm still not there yet so any suggestions on how to do this better would be welcome. However right now the best way I can say this is that it is the difference between a collective experience and a shared experience.

Right now web video is at the collective experience stage, where people browse the videos on offer, find something great and recommend it to friends. Collectively people have then viewed this video and talk about it, spurring new ideas.

With the launch of a live video platform people will be able to have a shared experience, where everyone can see something at the same time. This is like the difference between TV and DVD. It is an important difference.

What difference would such a platform make, would people use it? Well ask yourself what Ask A Ninja would be like as a live phone in show? How many parents working away from home would appreciate being able to see little Timmy's football game as it happens? These are shared experiences.

The only project on the horizon that seems even close to doing this is The Project Venice from the team that brought us Skype, but they don't seem to be targeting the User Generated Content market.

Finally, one of the driving forces for a change like this would be financial. Currently people have not cracked the web video advertising problem, this model is one that is more closely related to the current TV advertising model.

Well that's it. My take on a major change for 2007. What's yours?

Updated 30/12/2006: Forgot to mention, iCal would be the RSS of this new live world.