Looking Beyond YouTube

Last week’s big news was Google’s impending purchase of YouTube. Some might argue, however, the more interesting news was Mark Cuban‘s comments days earlier about Google’s move: “Anyone who buys [YouTube] is a moron.” The reasons for his comments are based on the copyright issues YouTube potentially faces.

But with all the excitement about YouTube, I wonder if we’ve forgotten the other, in some cases bigger, online video sites.

As an agency guy, I sit in lots of brainstorming sessions. And I can assure you something on YouTube always comes up. Now, clients are starting to ask how we can use YouTube. I did a Google News search for YouTube and came up with 14,200 results. So, yes, YouTube is hot.

But did you know YouTube isn’t the top video site in the U.S.? Interestingly, the biggest one is MySpace. At least if you count the number of streams viewed. If you’re counting the number of people streaming, Yahoo ranks number one.

ComScore recently enhanced its ability to track online video consumption by also tracking Flash video as part of its rankings. In a recent press release, comScore breaks down the U.S. video landscape. According to comScore, more than 106.5 million people “streamed or downloaded video” in July. Those users streamed or downloaded over 7 billion videos, which breaks down to about 67 streams per user, averaging two streams per day.

Yahoo topped the heap in unique streamers with 37.9 million; MySpace had 37.4 million; and YouTube had 30.5 million. MySpace leads in the number of video streams for U.S. users with 1.5 billion streams. Yahoo ranked second with 812 million, and YouTube had 649 million streams.

So what is it about YouTube that has everyone so interested? It’s a cultural phenomenon. Yahoo gets credit for all the video streamed within its network, including professionally produced video, such as news, entertainment, and sports, as well as user-generated content. So when people get excited about YouTube and MySpace, there’s a completely different vibe than what they might feel about Yahoo. In any event, as you consider video options for your clients, you must consider what’s happening beyond YouTube.

Also important are the advertising possibilities. Yahoo makes it simple with pre-roll advertising. MySpace and YouTube don’t offer those types of opportunities. I’ve recently covered ways to use both those sites for your clients. Some are fairly structured, and some aren’t.

Additionally, if video is on your planning radar, you should look at other sites that are essentially copying the YouTube model in one form or another:

  • UnCut Video: Owned by AOL

  • Revver: A site that pays users who upload video based on the number of times the video is viewed
  • Vimeo: An independent video site that launched its most recent version in April
  • Grouper: A video site that allows you to download videos and remix, mash up, and share
  • Dailymotion: A video site out of Paris
  • ClipShack: A video site claiming to be a videophile community

You’ll want to keep an eye on these other sites, too. Google bought YouTube to expand its video reach. There’s a good chance the other big players will be looking at these sites as possible acquisitions to expand their own video reach.

Sure, YouTube’s hot, but there are plenty of options out there. Some of them have even greater reach and better advertising potential for your clients.

If you have thoughts on the future of online video sites or online video advertising, I’d love to hear from you.

Nominate your favorite product or campaign for the 2006 ClickZ Marketing Excellence Awards, October 16 through close of business (EST) on October 24. Final voting begins on October 30.

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