YouTube and Ustream: Internet Video Taking Over
For my birthday this past week, I got a Flip video camera. I already had a Mini DV Sony, but the Flip has the added bonus of being extremely lightweight and small, making its portability a huge benefit. Since I’ve had it, I’ve uploaded two YouTube videos and recorded about an hour of footage as I’m out and about with my friends.
My extra time on YouTube has also made me aware of a profession that I had no idea existed. People like Philip DeFranco make their living on YouTube. It’s a very, very simple business model: Record a 3-4 minute video three times a week of yourself stating your own opinions on news that already broke, put the video on youtube, have an ad pop up along the bottom, make lots of money. What? I, and the rest of America, has been stating our opinions about Michael Jackson, Billy Mays, and all of the other breaking news this week, but I don’t get paid. I suppose it’s DeFranco’s unique editing style and his great sense of humor that make his opinion so popular.
What has struck me as I explore the incredibly deep world of online video is how dynamic it is. There are people live streaming every second of their gaming from Xbox 360s and PS3s, many hosting online conversations, and some just projecting their evening into the web. Whatever the case, video – in live streaming form as well as pre-recorded uploads – is fast becoming the new “blog.” WordPress has figured this out and launched a site to compliment their text blogging site. The site is called Videopress, and it allows you to upload and integrate video into your wordpress blog with maximum compatibility.
Along with Videopress and YouTube, there are live streaming sites coming up left and right. Ustream seems to lead the pack, but justin.tv, blogtv.com, livestream.com, and stickam.com are all places to stream whatever you want to. Anyone can sign up and schedule their live shows, record them, and then send them out as a podcast later. Just a few years ago, this was nearly impossible on the internet. Now, all you need is a computer with a webcam (most laptops come with one built in) and an internet connection, then you can stream anything any time.
Video on the net is also no longer only internet original. With sites like Surf The Channel and then Hulu, people can watch TV shows and movies (legally or otherwise) for free on the internet. The quality on these sites is not up to par with HD service offered by cable and satellite television providers, but it’s fast improving. I wouldn’t be surprised to see 1080p HD service available from these sites in the next two years.
All of this video from all of these sources definitely has the potential to make the web a much more dynamic place, and could send TV the way of news print. Like news print, though, TV has the benefit of being consistently high-quality and on-topic (for the most part). Would this be lost if we started to phase away from Cable and Satellite TV? I would say it’s definitely avoidable, but it’s something to watch out for. As entertaining as it is to get news and information from The Philip DeFranco show, it’s not something I would look to if something like 9/11 happened again.
Only time will tell where people will go for video news and entertainment in coming years, but with the trio of Hulu, YouTube, and Ustream, the television industry is going to have to earn every viewer and every penny.