March 22, 2006

Self-service video website

Digital Content look -- website in the news which serves as video blogger for people. is getting quite a bit of attention from everywhere. It;s the MTV partner as well? Every day people send in 20,000 new videoclips to, which shares them with millions of Web viewers. Fifteen million plays a day-and counting.

From Forbes:

A boundless and voyeuristic appetite for amateur videos has lit up one of the hottest Web sites of 2006: Spoofs and spankings, pranks and pratfalls, faded concert footage--visitors post 20,000 videos every day. The audience, numbering several million, watches 15 million clips daily, up fivefold in two months.

Don’t these people have anything better to do? Nope. YouTube, which didn’t exist a year ago, has shown awe-inspiring growth, even by Internet standards. Two tech pups--Steve S. Chen, 27, and Chad Hurley, 29, who had worked together at online payment firm PayPal, opened their business last year after having problems sharing video from a party. In November they raised $3.5 million from Sequoia Capital to cover minimal costs: bandwidth, salaries and rent. The site’s content, after all, flows in free.

YouTube went live on May 5, 2005 with the first few posts: some footage of Chen’s cat, P.J., and video of Chen (a second-generation Chinese-American) and Hurley hanging out in Hurley’s garage (but of course--this is Silicon Valley). By December YouTube caught up to iFilm, a popular video site that just sold itself to Viacom for $49 million. Then it blew right past iFilm, and now YouTube attracts nine times as many Web surfers as iFilm.

The grainy home videos on YouTube provide a peephole thrill, blending reality tv and America’s Funniest Home Videos with Web logs. Its 20 employees designed the site to let bloggers insert any YouTube videoclip into their own sites. A blog’s readers can then easily share the videos with friends, spreading them virally.

But Chen and Hurley have greater ambitions--YouTube as an on-demand platform for clips, shows, ads, movies, movie trailers and custom fare. Marketers and media outlets are keen on this. emi, Virgin Records and VH1 have posted videoclips to the site. Apparel makers, watch brands and others have pestered YouTube to let them run promos. Nike airs an assiduously amateurish clip of soccer star Ronaldinho--and more than 2.7 million people have viewed it. Free promotion.

The other night MC Hammer, the faded rap star, stopped in at YouTube, sans entourage, to ask about promotional opportunities. Staffers shot his video--and posted it.

YouTube works in a small space over a pizza parlor in San Mateo, California, monitoring thousands of new videos by the moment, keeping servers running to deliver 200 terabytes a day from 15 host sites around the world and tracking comments and beefs about racy fare.

“Raw and random” is how Kevin Donahue, YouTube’s programming director, sums up the site. On a recent day in mid-February one clip surged to the top of the popularity rankings. It shows a stepfather’s cruel prank on his young stepson: The boy is playing a videogame and suddenly his screen flashes a picture of a frightening, evil face; the kid screams and sobs hysterically. “That’s just wrong,” Christopher Maxcy, a YouTube vice president, said as the staff checked out the new clip. Other Tubers chuckled in appreciation.

Many of YouTube’s tamer clips are highlights of network TV shows. The most popular to date (6 million downloads) is a Candid Camera-style skit from the Tonight Show on NBC: unsuspecting people being mocked by a talking photo booth. This just in: On Feb. 16 the same network forced YouTube to take down all clips of its shows, including its second-ranking download: “Lazy Sunday,” a Saturday Night Live skit viewers had watched 5 million times on the site.

A few other clip owners, including Fox’s American Idol and owners of footage from a 1968 Rolling Stones concert, also have had copyrighted clips taken down. But YouTube cleverly ducks most copyright issues by streaming all videos as Flash animations, not as downloads, preventing users from making digital copies. All uploaders must say they own the videos they want to share; if a real copyright holder later appears and objects to that claim, YouTube pulls the clip.

To keep its film raw but not pornographic, the firm uses software that can identify and block porn. Four Stanford interns work as censors, evaluating videos flagged as “objectionable” by the site’s users. After one Brooklyn artist put up video of her bare derriere being spanked by a friend, the clip got banned--never mind, she says, that a movie trailer on YouTube showed much the same thing. “It’s a little arbitrary,” she gripes.

Still to come: a way to make money on this. YouTube eschews video ads before a clip. When it inserted text ads, it apologized in the company blog, explaining it needed the money to fix the office sink. “It would be real easy” to reap ad sales now, but fans might balk later, Chen says. He will figure it out: YouTubers like to watch, even if it means enduring a few ads.


Industry Uneasy With YouTube Craze

By Richard Gray
Scotland on Sunday
03/21/06 8:05 AM PT

Bootleg footage from concerts by top artists such as the Rolling Stones, U2 and Franz Ferdinand are available by the thousands along with recordings of pop videos and band interviews. A simple keyword search can unearth a wealth of classic clips featuring Kate Bush, Jimi Hendrix, The Smiths and Take That.

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It is the latest entertainment craze to sweep the Internet. Thousands of amateur video clips, rare footage of music concerts and homemade film spoofs are now being uploaded every day to the video-sharing Web site Get Linux or Windows Managed Hosting Services with Industry Leading Fanatical Support. YouTube for the enjoyment of millions of Web users around the world.

Allowing the public to watch and share clips for free, it has become an unprecedented platform for amateur filmmakers to show off their home movies.

However, music labels, film studios and television bosses are now cracking down on the site, and others like it, amid fears they are becoming a virtual breeding ground for pirated material.
Bootleg Footage

They claim video sharing is being used to dodge regulations designed to stop music and films being distributed over the Internet after sites such as Napster were forced to charge for downloads by the courts.

Bootleg footage from concerts by top artists such as the Rolling Stones, U2 and Franz Ferdinand are available by the thousands along with recordings of pop videos and band interviews. A simple keyword search can unearth a wealth of classic clips featuring Kate Bush, Jimi Hendrix, The Smiths and Take That.

More than 20,000 new video clips are sent in to YouTube every day and it attracts 15 million plays every 24 hours. Some films have attained cult status, spreading around the Internet faster than computer viruses. Long-forgotten footage has re-emerged as hugely popular entertainment after being posted by users.

The British Phonographic Industry insists all these videos breach copyright law and says they will "rigorously" seek to have them removed from Web sites with the threat of legal action against service providers who refuse.

A spokesperson said: "Our policy is to prosecute in cases of file-sharing of music and that would be the case where bootleg videos of concerts were also being illegally distributed. Record companies own the copyright of any filming done at concerts, and it is illegal to post such footage on the Internet.

"Tackling the illegal distribution of music as audio and video on the Internet is a priority at present and we will rigorously try to have the material removed."
Sharing War

The war against Internet sharing has gathered pace as broadband capacity has made it easier to share and download entire films and albums in minutes.

One YouTube favorite is a Rice Krispies advertisement from 1964 featuring an embarrassing jingle written and performed by the Rolling Stones. At the time, the band asked not to be identified as being involved when the ad was aired, but video-sharing has allowed Web users around the world to enjoy the fading footage for themselves.

Hollywood studios are concerned that clips from movies such as the "Harry Potter" films, "Memoirs of a Geisha" and the latest "Scary Movie" installment are all available along with segments from popular TV shows.

Earlier this month, NBC Universal forced YouTube to remove hundreds of clips from the site of a sketch from its "Saturday Night Live" show, and CBS News did the same in relation to a clip that had become popular.

A spokesperson from the Federation Against Copyright Theft said: "We monitor piracy online as well as physical materials, and it is a growing problem as technology advances."

The music industry has been leading the fight against illegal sharing since it took Napster, who produced one of the first file-sharing programs, to court two years ago and forced it to charge for legal downloads, but experts claim the music and film industry may struggle to have other more "creative" films removed.
Fighting Piracy

Filmmakers have dubbed songs over personal footage to create their own music videos while others have spliced sections of different films together to create new plots.

In one example, called "Brokeback to the Future," a pair of college students from Boston have combined scenes from Hollywood hit "Brokeback Mountain" with 1980s favorite "Back to the Future" starring Michael J. Fox.

The parody has attracted worldwide attention and spawned a series of copycat spoofs from films as diverse as "Top Gun" and "The Shawshank Redemption."

Dr. Richard Haynes, from Stirling University's Media Research Institute, said he believes file-sharing will see an increase in this kind of "video jockeying." He added: "These Web sites are designed to provide a platform for people to show off what they are recording, but they are open to abuse.

"The floodgates are open, as it is very problematic for the industry to stop this from happening -- particularly if the clips are being used by people creatively.

"If they have been spliced, dubbed and remixed, then it becomes extremely difficult in terms of ownership. The music industry is already rife with this, as lyrics are often used by other musicians and samples are used by hip-hop artists and DJs."

Posted by keefner at March 22, 2006 07:34 AM