Happy New Year 2008

December 31, 2007

Be safe.  See you next year!


The Best NBA facial dunks of 2007

December 30, 2007

Of all the professional sports, the NBA is leading the way in online videos.  This video is amazing.  I love it.


The Best YouTube Videos of 2007

December 28, 2007

I’ve watched hundreds, if not thousands, of YouTube videos this year. Here are my selections for The Best YouTube Videos of 2007.

1. Best YouTube Video of the Year: Esmee

Esmee Denters is an 18-year-old Dutch girl who started singing on YouTube from her bedroom. Soon, she started drawing hundreds of thousands of views. Then, in the millions. Eventually, a guy named Justin Timberlake signed her to a record deal. This video was shot right before the announcement of the deal. It represents the best that “user-generated content” has to offer.  Wait for the video’s ending. Esmee’s first album will be released in 2008.

2. First Runner-Up: Miss South Carolina

It pains me to select a TV clip as the First Runner-Up, but this video of Miss South Carolina Lauren Caitlin Upton speaks for itself. She’s beautiful and should be a spokesperson for GPS.

3. Second Runner-Up: James Kotecki interviews Ron Paul from his dorm

From his dorm room, James Kotecki interviewed Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul. Kotecki also interviewed Mike Huckabee, Mike Gravel, John Edwards, and Dennis Kucinich. The citizen-journalist might have more power today than ever before.

4. Third Runner-Up: Lazydork raps YouTube, so does Renetto

Irreverance is king on YouTube.

5. Fourth Runner-Up: Obama girl

Cleavage is queen on YouTube.

6. Fifth Runner-Up: Ron Paul

He’s the most watched candidate on YouTube. Still trying to figure out why.

7. Sixth Runner-Up: Hillary 1984

Why citizens will be a factor in the presidential election in 2008.

[I reserve 24 hours to revise my picks as I think of other videos I’ve watched. Drop me an email if you like to nominate another video. utubeblog [at] gmail [dot] com


YouTube: No longer “Broadcast yourself”?

December 26, 2007

News: Say it’s not so.  YouTube has dropped its motto “Broadcast yourself” from the logo on the front page. It used to look like this:

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Now, it looks like this:

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Analysis:  Perhaps YouTube is so well known now that the motto became expendable in the design of the front page.   Perhaps YouTube had trouble securing a trademark in the phrase (if, e.g., others had already been using it).  If YouTube doesn’t use the motto going forward, it will eventually abandon any claim to trademarking it.  Either way, I liked the motto and am sad to see it disappear from YouTube.


Roger Clemens denies steroids on YouTube

December 24, 2007

So instead of facing the media, Roger Clemens joined YouTube.  Read the comments.


So who’s on YouTube: Queen Elizabeth

December 23, 2007

News: With Queen Elizabeth’s backing, the Royal Channel has launched on YouTube. Her Christmas day greeting will be disseminated also on video. Check back on the channel.

To watch the 1st televised Christmas message from the Queen from 1957, click here.

To watch the 2007 message from Queen Elizabeth, click here.


Video of the week: Perez Hilton kicked off YouTube

December 22, 2007

Don’t worry, Perez wasn’t booted for long.  He’s back up.


YouTube to cover Iowa caucuses

December 21, 2007

News:  The Des Moines Register and YouTube will be soliciting videos from people on the Iowa caucuses as things unfold.  You can submit your video starting today.


YouTube videos to cover the New Hampshire primary

December 20, 2007

News:  YouTube and TV stations from Manchester and from Boston have announced a partnership for the New Hampshire primary.  People will be allowed to upload videos to the YouTube sites of the 2 TV stations for instant commentary on the primary.


Harris poll: 65% U.S. adults watched YouTube in 2007

December 20, 2007

News: A survey of 2,455 U.S. adults found that 65% watched a YouTube video at least one time in 2007, while 42% said they watched YouTube frequently. (More)  Here’s a nice chart of YouTube’s amazing growth in 2007.

But, in another part, the survey found: “Online viewers said they would watch more TV episodes and full-length movies if more were available. There was less interest in viewing more amateur or user-generated videos, news and sports, according to the survey.”

Analysis: It will be difficult for any competitor to dislodge YouTube from the top of the video market. The user base is so large, which makes the network (effects) so strong an attraction for people. I’ve been studying reviews of competitor video sites — many of which offer better video quality than YouTube — but I’m not sure any of the others have much of a chance against YouTube/Google. The survey’s finding about a preference for professional content over user-generated stuff (althouth the figures are not given) does provide some hope for Hula and others that are trying to market “premium” content.


Update on Suzanna Hlinka on YouTube

December 19, 2007

News: Last week, I came across the video of this amazing pianist Suzanna Hlinka, who had just joined YouTube and posted a few videos. Her performance of Rachmaninoff was so mesmerizing I made it my selection for Video of the Week. Now, within a few days, the video has over 1,600 views.

I did some digging and found out her biography (quoted below)–it’s beyond impressive:

Pianist Suzanna Hlinka has been praised by Australia’s Courier Mail as “A prodigious talent” and for her playing style, rich with “poise and finesse.” Born into a Sydney-based musical family in 1984 she began playing the piano at the age of three under the guidance of her mother, Olga Hlinka. Her teachers have included Jana Kovar, Sue Thompson, Natasha Vlassenko, Jiri Hlinka, and Oleg Stepanov, with whom she completed her Bachelor of Music degree in 2004 at the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University. In the aforementioned institute Suzanna accompanied its Young Conservatorium choirs and won numerous awards including the Griffith University Award for academic excellence during three consecutive years.

Suzanna completed her Masters degree in 2007 at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague as a pupil of Peter Toperczer. Throughout her time in the Czech Republic she simultaneously held a teaching position at the International School of Music and Fine Arts Prague and was awarded for her Thesis entitled “Mathematics and Music: Connections”, the prestigious Gaudeamus (Kapsch s.r.o.) award in the competition “Ceska Hlava,” a project supporting scientific and technical intelligence in the Czech Republic. She is currently based in Bern, Switzerland.

Suzanna has been a prizewinner of the Yamaha Piano Competition in Australia, Concertino Praga International Radio Competition for Young Musicians and the Rudolph Firkusny International Piano Competition in Prague, amongst others. She has performed as a soloist with many orchestras including the Orchestra, Youth Orchestra, Conservatorium Orchestras, and the Chamber Ensemble of Queensland as well as the South Bohemian Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra. Suzanna is regularly invited to perform in festivals in Australia and Europe and has appeared on Australian and Czech television and radio such as SBS, 4EB, 4MBS, ABC, and Czech radio.

Alongside her soloist activities Suzanna devotes herself to chamber music cooperating with musicians such as Pavel Eret, Christoph Blickling and her father, Vojtech Hlinka. Suzanna has performed in Australia, Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Japan, Norway, and Switzerland.

Analysis: I know I have a good eye for talent, but, wow, it’s just amazing to learn how accomplished this person on YouTube really is. Suzanna will be launching a website soon.


Romney attacks Huckabee as soft on crime

December 18, 2007

Is there a subliminal cross in Huckabee’s Christmas video on YouTube?

December 18, 2007

News:   Mke Hucakabee just posted his latest YouTube video.  It’s a Christmas message.  Some cable news channel indicated that there’s a subliminal cross in the background next to the tree.  You be the judge.


YouTube gets a facelift

December 18, 2007

YouTube has summarized all the changes here.

I might be seeing things, but to my naked eye, the thumbnails now look bigger than before.  After the last facelift, I thought the thumbnails got smaller.  This is not the exact size, but it now looks something like this:

new-youtube-look.jpg


Video of the week: Suzanna Hlinka performs Rachmaninoff – Moment Musicaux Op. 16 No. 4 in E minor

December 14, 2007

Wow. Mind-blowing performance from this Australian pianist Suzanna Hlinka.  Outstanding.


Helio Ocean phone now plays YouTube videos

December 13, 2007

News: The Helio Ocean phone now has souped-up functionality with YouTube videos, allowing even more functions that the iPhone (e.g., commenting, rating, access to personal videos). “Helio has taken the mobile YouTube experience to the next level,” Chad Hurley, YouTube co-founder and CEO, said in a statement from Helio. “This innovative application offers people even more customization and provides them with instant access to interact with the YouTube community whenever and wherever they go.” (More)

You can view a demo here. This looks cool.

Here’s a comparison between Ocean versus the Apple iPhone.


The power of Oprah + Obama on YouTube

December 12, 2007

News:  29,000 people flock to see Oprah and Barack Obama in South Carolina.  18,500 in Iowa.  Over 100,000 views now on YouTube in 2 days.  Is this the perfect storm for Hillary Clinton?


The growth of online videos: billions watched

December 12, 2007

News: Wall St. Journal had an interesting article yesterday analyzing why the Apple TV and other devices that allow people to watch online videos on their TVs haven’t really sold well.

 Two interesting facts noted in the article:

1.  US users watched 9.13 billion videos online in August, up 26% from 7.25 billion in January.

2.  In 2006, 80% of people surveyed said that would not pay any price for a device that would allow them to watch Internet videos on their TV.

Analysis:  My guess is that people are fine watching videos on their computer monitors (the quality of which are pretty good and, in any event, YouTube’s video quality is not that great, to begin with).


YouTube opens doors — halfway — for others to share revenue on YouTube

December 12, 2007

News:  YouTube has finally expanded its revenue-sharing program to allow anyone (who creates videos for YouTube) to apply for a share in the ad revenues.  If approve, you become a “partner” and get some undisclosed amount of money from ad revenue generated by the traffic generated.

To qualify, you must meet 4 criteria:

1.  You create original videos suitable for online streaming.

2.  You own the copyrights and distribution rights for all audio and video content that you upload — no exceptions.

3.  You regularly upload videos that are viewed by thousands of YouTube users.

4.  You live in the United States or Canada.

Analysis:  Number 2 must be a typo.  There’s no way that most video creators will own the copyrights to the music in the user-generated videos.  They could have a nonexclusive license to distribute and perform the copyrighted music.   But that’s quite different from owning the copyrights to the audio. 


Romney attack ad on Huckabee

December 11, 2007

Terra Naomi headlines launch of YouTube Russia

December 11, 2007

December 11 marks the launch of YouTube in Russia. Terra Naomi will be performing at the opening in Russia.  Amazing.


Oprah backs Obama on campaign trail + YouTube

December 10, 2007

News: Barack Obama is now in a statistical tie with Hillary Clinton in Iowa.

Analysis: Oprah is an excellent campaigner. The Clinton camp should be hitting the panic button right now. This will be their toughest challenge for the Democratic nomination.


Chuck Norris endorses Mike Huckabee on YouTube — is he now the Republican front runner?

December 6, 2007

I used to be a political junkie in high school and a little in college. Not anymore these days. But I do think I have a modest skill in analyzing the political landscape. Several years ago, I told a friend of mine that Rudy Giuliani will be the front runner to get the Republican nomination. He said there’s no way the conservatives would back him, the guy had too much baggage and liberal leaning social policies. I said, 9/11.

Then, just several months ago, I suggested to another friend that Mike Huckabee has a chance on the Republican side. That was when the political pundits said that he had none. Well, today, Huckabee is leading the polls in Iowa. You heard that right, Huckabee is now on top in Iowa. And he’s surging in the polls nationally. Apparently, getting the endorsement of Chuck Norris helped.

Huckabee’s also surging on YouTube. His first video with Chuck Norris (see below) is, by my account, the only video on YouTube from one of the candidates, Republican or Democrat, that has received over 1 million views.

By the way, none of this post should be taken as my endorsement of any candidate.


So who’s on YouTube?: Victoria’s Secret

December 5, 2007

Does “GodTube” infringe YouTube?

December 5, 2007

News:  The USA Today has a feature today about the Christian religious video website called GodTube.  The name of the site and the look of it bear some resemblance to YouTube.  Here’s GodTube’s mission statement:  “Join World’s largest online Christian community. Watch, share upload Christian videos and join the social network for free!”  Instead of YouTube’s motto “Broadcast yourself,” GodTube says “Broadcast Him” (referring presumably to Jesus Christ).

Analysis:  At some point, YouTube will have to make some critical decisions about potential enforcement of its trademarks and, possibly, copyrights for its website design.  Perhaps going after a religious site is bad PR, but I wonder if YouTube would be allowing third party commercial video sites to use the marks SportsTube, MeTube, ITube, WeTube, or the like.  There is apparently a site called “PornoTube,” but I haven’t checked that out yet. 

Although the trademark issue is probably the more salient than copyright in this context, I’m not sure if YouTube would be able to prove that consumers are likely to confuse some association between YouTube and GodTube.  You would need to do surveys.  The similar look of the two sites and GodTube’s play on YouTube’s motto “Broadcast yourself” might possibly suggest a mistaken association.  If trademark didn’t work, there’s at least a copyright issue with the somewhat similar-looking websites.   The similarity is not that close, so copyright probably won’t work, either. 

In any event, I doubt that YouTube’s philosophy would be to start suing other “Tube” video sites.  But I would think some in-house counsel has at least to consider it.


Are Republican presidential candidates more popular than Democrats on YouTube?

December 2, 2007

News: The CNN-YouTube debate for the presidential candidates this past week was surprisingly good — much better in my book than the first Democratic debate. From the first question in which Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney questioned each other’s toughness on illegal immigrants, the debate exposed very sharp differences between the Republican candidates.

Within less than a week, the videos from the Republican debate have generated hundreds of thousands of views — far more than the videos from Democratic debate (which have been on YouTube for four months). If you look below, the Republican debate videos dominated YouTube’s “Most Viewed” videos for the past few days.

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Analysis: Bravo to CNN and Anderson Cooper. I criticized you soundly for botching the Democratic debate with gimmicks and favoritism. Much better this time around.  Some excellent questions and revelatory moments.  The number of views on YouTube confirm how good the debate was.


Terra Naomi + Rachel Thibodeau jam session

December 2, 2007