report yesterday from Bloomberg says that Yahoo! is planning to revamp its online video offering by year's end in an effort to compete with YouTube and MySpace TV. According to comScore, Yahoo! is actually third in the US in terms of total video streams, though their 4.6% market share is well off the pace set by Google (mostly via YouTube), which soundly dominates the online video space, serving more than 4.5 times as many videos each month as Yahoo!.A
Ari Levy at Bloomberg reports that Yahoo! plans to beef up its video offering with more content from media partners as well as users. Yahoo! also plans to add video to its popular photo sharing property, Flickr. "One of our strategies is to put video everywhere you are on the Internet," Yahoo!'s general manager for video, Mike Folgner, told Bloomberg. "We're going to build a much better destination for you to access all this different content."
Yahoo! already has deals in place with some compelling content partners including the Universal Music Group, and the EMI Group, as well as the Associated Press, CNN, Major League Baseball and the National Football League. These sort of major content deals can certainly help bring in the eyeballs -- epsecially if any of them are exclusive deals -- but what made YouTube a success was really the user generated video. Clips from television shows (especially late-night US comedies like the Daily Show, South Park, or Saturday Night Live) certainly drove a fair amount of YouTube traffic, but it was the ability for the site to turn anyone into a star and give ordinary people an outlet to share ideas, opinions, rants and converse with one another that truly made the site a success in my opinion.
Om Malik, writing for NewTeeVee late last night, was not sold on the idea of Yahoo! bolstering its video destination.
" Look at YouTubeÄôs history: it became popular because from the very beginning it didnÄôt try to be a destination, using viral distribution to get traction. Even today, peopleÄôs perception of YouTube is that it is not a destination. So far, video destination sites have not been a success.
Look at it another way, Google tried to compete with YouTube with a strategy similar to YahooÄôs plan. It didnÄôt work, and they had to buy YouTube."
Om also wasn't sold on the idea of adding video to Flickr. I'm not so sure that's a good idea either. Flickr has been talking about adding video for almost 3 years now, but so far it hasn't happened. My guess is the reason they haven't pulled the trigger on video is that they aren't sold internally on the idea. Flickr has a reputation as a high end photography site; one that attracts artistic photos more than vacation snapshots. That rep took a ding when Yahoo! began closing their Photos property a couple of months ago and encouraged users to migrate to Flickr (though killing off the overlap was something Yahoo! had to do, and I think they made the right choice to keep Flickr). Adding video might just tarnish Flickr further.
That said, Yahoo! does own some pretty compelling video tools, namely Jumpcut. Jumpcut is a best of breed online video editor which could be integrated into a video offering letting people not only post and respond to video blogs, but also edit and remix them directly on the site. That's something that YouTube is dabbling in with their Remixer app, but Jumpcut is currently a far superior offering.
What do you think? Can Yahoo! make a legitimate run at YouTube or will their efforts be dead on arrival? Leave your thoughts below.