Wired on YouTube

November 30, 2006

News: Wired’s December issue is on the newstands and it features YouTube on the cover, with a picture of Lonelygirl15. There are 2 excellent articles, (1) one about the YouTube phenomenon and (2) the other about Lonelygirl15. Wired’s website even has a video of the photo shoot with Lonelygirl15 (actress Jessica Rose).


Analysis:  Both articles are great reads.  I recommend both if you follow YouTube.  One thing I still don’t understand:  what exactly was or is the fascination with the Lonelygirl15 character??  I’ve surfed through some of the many Lonelygirl15 videos and yawned.

Disney exec complains about copyright infringement on YouTube

November 30, 2006

News: Disney exec Anne Sweeney said that YouTube needs to do more about copyright infringement. She found the current approach of having to complain to YouTube to take down infringing clips “inefficient,” but did not suggest that Disney would sue YouTube. (More from Reuters)

U2 on YouTube: Vertigo

November 29, 2006

Snakes on a plane? YouTube on cellphones?

November 28, 2006

News:  Verizon and YouTube announced a new deal to stream YouTube videos on Verizon cellphones for $15/month.  The service, called “VCast,” will offer only a limited, pre-selected number of videos approved by Verizon for content.  A YouTube spokeswoman said, “We’ll select content that has the broadest appeal and the highest entertainment value.” (more from NYT)

Analysis:  $15 sounds like a really high price tag to me (in addition to high cost of phone service).  I haven’t bought a new cellphone recently, but if the quality of streaming images is not that great, I wonder how many consumers will sign up.  On the other hand, as cellphones incorporate greater visual capability, the streaming of videos on cellphones seems to be a natural complement to the growing phenomenon of people recording videos on cellphones (as in the UCLA taser incident).  

German Chancellor vlogs on YouTube

November 27, 2006

News:  Wired critiques the videos of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, which are available on the German government site and, of course, on YouTube.  Wired reports:

“I don’t know who can take these seriously,” says Ivo Smolak, aka Ivo Lotion, a video artist and underground comedian whose spoofs of Merkel’s speeches have become a hit on YouTube. “I like her, but her body language is unintentionally so funny it’s just asking for satire. Maybe she just needs more time in front of the camera.” * * *

“Thursdays or Fridays, Merkel meets with a production crew and shoots for about 15 minutes somewhere in the German executive office building, sometimes using handheld cameras. Topics in the last few weeks have ranged from a heartfelt reaction to the kidnapping and murder of a 2-year-old child last month to snoozers on the “German-Polish relationship” and economic growth.”

Analysis:  Unbelievable, the head of a country youtubing!  I wish I understood German.

Will YouTube replace TV?

November 27, 2006

News:  BBC has a survey of people in Britain who watch online videos.  46% of online viewers say they watch less TV (including 20% who say they watch a lot less TV).  However, online viewers only make up 9% of the British population (although it’s 28% among 16 to 24 year olds), and 54% of online viewers say they still watch the same amount of TV.

Analysis:  The key stat to me is the number of 16 to 24 year olds who watch online videos, 28%.  Advertisers covet the attention of that segment of the population, so one should hardly doubt that there’s a business to be made in online videos.

Is the world of “YouTube surveillance” going too far?

November 27, 2006

News:  The NYT reports an incident involving a high school student in Ottawa who provoked her teacher to get mad, so that another student could tape it and post it on YouTube.  The school got wind of the video and asked YouTube to remove it.  YouTube complied.  According to NYT, the teacher “is a 33-year veteran who specialized in teaching students with learning disabilities. The teacher is now on voluntary sick leave, and officials at his union say that he is so embarrassed that he may never return to class.” 

Analysis:  At least from the description in the article, I think the students were wrong for what they did, especially if they wanted their teacher to get mad so they could catch it on tape.  The article suggests that the teacher was a good teacher and supported by students.  Our lives will be drastically different if everything outside of our homes can be taped on video and posted on YouTube.  Although it’s true that video can catch inappropriate behavior and comments by politicians, police officers, and washed-up actors, there’s also a negative element to making everything fair game to video.   

UPDATE:  Michael Geist, a law professor in Canada, has a thoughtful article on the issuse.  In it, he writes:  “While there are some obvious benefits that arise from the transparency and potential accountability that can come from video evidence of controversial events, the emergence of an always-on video society raises some difficult questions about the appropriate privacy-transparency balance, the ethics of posting private moments to a global audience, and the responsibility of websites that facilitate Internet video distribution.”