YouTube? Eh, MySpace Is The One To Watch

    March 23, 2007
    WebProNews Staff

All of us that doubted the power of MySpace should be ashamed ourselves. I was chief among the doubters, nearly certain that once MySpace’s teenybopper base grew up, News Corp. would feel the pain of it in the wallet. But two things happened: MySpace blew up YouTube; and last week blew up MSN Video.

At the beginning of this week (ahem, two days before the News Corp./NBC/MSN/Yahoo/AOL/MySpace mega-video announcement), I talked about how the big corporations would be the ones to take Web video to the next level, and wondered about YouTube’s success in a world without MySpace.

In the new announcement, there wasn’t much talk about Microsoft’s or MSN’s video’s role in all this, though there was (obviously) an alliance formed. According to Microsoft’s Platforms and Services Division president, Kevin Johnson:

“Our alliance proves that you can deliver quality online video entertainment and protect intellectual property and copyright at the same time. We look forward to working together to explore additional opportunities to distribute this content across other Microsoft services and devices."

This alliance began well before the announcement, according Hitwise’s LeeAnn Prescott. "In looking at traffic to the top video sites this past week," she said. "I noticed something unusual: a massive increase in market share for MSN Video. Its market share of visits shot up 691% for the week ending 3/17/07 vs. the week ending 3/10/07, surpassing MySpace Video."

Last week, MSN Video was receiving 24.23 percent of its traffic from MySpace, up from just under four percent the week before.

LeeAnn also directs us to Jeff Jarvis, who alludes to the Google/YouTube and Viacom struggle (Google, obviously is the biggest target of this alliance). But also, as Jarvis talks about the impact on copyright issues and monetization of video:

What’s smart about this is that it potentially provides an infrastructure for the viral, audience-controlled recommendation and distribution of video with the two elements the producers demand — control and monetization (mantras I heard from the big guys at the Video on the Net conference). If this makes this kind of viral distribution profitable, it will cut off objections to it. And that, I believe, will leave Viacom out there dangling naked on Main Street.

If this is done right, it makes viral distribution of video a noninfringing activity. It will legitimize, enable, and exploit what we already want to do: recommend and watch their shows.

And suddenly it is most definitely MySpace that becomes the go-to destination as well as the main reference to other go-to destinations. Fox, say what you want, but Fox is one savvy competitor.