USA Today article on

February 12, 2009

Nice article about and its hosting of 38,000 user-generated shows, with a 50-50 ad revenue model split with the creator.

2008: The End of the VCR?

December 22, 2008

News: LA Times has this excellent article discussing the end of manufacturing of the VHS tape. Soon, VHS tapes used on VCRs will suffer the same fate as Polaroid film: obsolescence.

: I have a confession to make. I own a VCR and still occasionally use it–the last time to tape Obama’s convention speech, followed by Palin’s convention speech. I also have a DVD player, but it broke after I used it once and I never got around to buying another one. And it may be shocking to some who know me as a techie, I don’t have a DVR. Don’t get me wrong, I think DVRs are cool. But, to be honest, there’s not much on TV I ever find worth time shifting for later viewing. If I miss it, no loss.

But I will miss the VCR, just as I already miss Polaroid cameras and film (I still have my cache in the refrigerator). The VCR gave birth to one of the most important copyright cases of the 20th century, Universal City Studios v. Sony, in which the Supreme Court recognized the Sony safe harbor. Under the Sony safe harbor, tech developers are protected from copyright lawsuits for developing technologies that are capable of substantial noninfringing uses (even if they have infringing uses, too). Even more than its legal contribution, I find something beautiful and simple in the analog, retro features of the VCR. It was revolutionary in its day, and lasted for over 2 decades. Not true for the DVD, which some say will already become obsolete to BluRay soon.

It’s hard to say why people become attached to some (but not all) “retro” technologies. But they do. Many people still swear by vinyl albums and turntables! (Not me.) Many people think Polaroid photos are works of art. (Me.) Although the VCR is not as glamorous as vinyl or Polaroids, it has a special place in my book.

Is YouTube’s business toast?

May 30, 2008

News:  Tech Crunch’s Erick Schonfeld has the best analysis I’ve seen about YouTube’s market share and business model.  Google CEO Eric Schmidt openly concedes that it has faced difficulties in converting YouTube into a money-making venture in the same way Google has.  Schonfeld estimates or speculates that YouTube’s advertising revenues (in the neighborhood of $200 million) represent only 15% of the online video market, even though YouTube commands 37% of all videos watched online.

YouTube dominates video online even more

February 11, 2008

News: comScore reports that December 2007 had the greatest number of videos watched by US Internet users (10 billion) –attributable to the writers’ strike and the general lack of interesting TV programs to watch. 32.6% of that total was watched on YouTube. YouTube also had the most unique visitors, 79 million, followed by FOX sites at 43 million.

Is YouTube a bust for Google on advertising?

February 6, 2008

News: The Wall Street Journal had an excellent article today about how “Social Sites Don’t Deliver Big Ad Gains.” Unfortunately, the entire article is not freely available online. It had a couple paragraphs specifically about YouTube that suggested it was having trouble luring big corporations to advertise on YouTube. The problem is that some corporations may be skittish in advertising alongside videos that are not politically correct or free of controversy. Even CEO of Google Eric Schmidt admitted that things were going slower than expected with the monetization of ads on YouTube.

Analysis: Uh-oh.

YouTube continues to dominate

January 18, 2008

News: comScore just issued this press release about the growth of online video watching. The numbers are getting bigger and bigger. For YouTube, 74.5 million people viewed 2.9 billion videos on (39 videos per viewer)” in November.

RESTON, VA, January 17, 2008 – comScore (NASDAQ: SCOR), a leader in measuring the digital world, today released its comScore Video Metrix report for November 2007, indicating that more than 75 percent of U.S. Internet users watched a video online (including both streaming video and progressive downloads), averaging 3.25 hours of video per person during the month. Google Sites, which includes, increased its video market share by more than two percentage points to 31.3 percent from October to November.

Google Expands Lead in Online Video Market Share

Americans viewed nearly 9.5 billion online videos in November, with Google Sites once again ranking as the top U.S. video property with 3 billion videos viewed (31.3 percent share of all videos viewed), 2.9 billion of which occurred at (30.6 percent). Fox Interactive Media ranked second with 419 million videos viewed (4.4 percent), followed by Yahoo! Sites with 328 million (3.5 percent) and Viacom Digital with 304 million (2.6 percent).

Top U.S. Online Video Properties* by Videos Viewed

November 2007

Total U.S. – Home/Work/University Locations

Source: comScore Video Metrix


Videos Viewed


Share (%) of


Total Internet



Google Sites



Fox Interactive Media



Yahoo! Sites



Viacom Digital



Time Warner Network



Microsoft Sites



Disney Online











*Rankings based on video content sites; excludes video server networks. Online video includes both streaming and progressive download video.

In total, 138 million Americans – approximately three in four U.S Internet users – viewed online video in November. Google Sites also captured the largest online video audience with 76.2 million unique viewers, followed by Fox Interactive Media with 46.3 million and Yahoo! Sites with 37.3 million.

Top U.S. Online Video Properties* by Unique Video Viewers

November 2007

Total U.S. – Home/Work/University Locations

Source: comScore Video Metrix


Unique Viewers (000)

Percent of all U.S. Internet Users

Total Internet



Google Sites



Fox Interactive Media



Yahoo! Sites



Time Warner Network



Microsoft Sites



Viacom Digital



Disney Online








CBS Corporation



*Rankings based on video content sites; excludes video server networks. Online video includes both streaming and progressive download video.

Other notable findings from November 2007 include:

  • 74.5 million people viewed 2.9 billion videos on (39 videos per viewer).
  • 43.2 million people viewed 389 million videos on (9 videos per viewer).
  • Online viewers watched an average of 3.25 hours (195 minutes) of online video during the month, representing a 29-percent gain from the 2.52 hours (151 minutes) watched in January 2007.
  • The average online video duration was 2.8 minutes.
  • The average online video viewer consumed 69 videos.

Steve Jobs announces MacBook Air + iTunes movie rentals at MacWorld

January 16, 2008

News: MacWorld is the annual pilgrimage for all the obsessed Mac devotees in the world. Steve Jobs’ keynote presentation is, of course, the main event. This year, Jobs announced a new super-thin laptop called the MacBook Air, as well as some tinkering with the disappointing AppleTV. Tech Crunch has the play-by-play.

As techdirt reports, another significant announcement was Apple’s entry into video rental market via iTunes. You can now rent movies through iTunes. Techdirt, though, questions Apple’s per-video rental fees, instead of the NetFlix “all you can eat” subscription plays. Techdirt also questions the use of DRM on the iTunes movies, something that has backfired in the music world — in part because Steve Jobs criticized it.

The new MacBook Air is priced at $1,799, which Tech Crunch says is too expensive.