I’m starting to write this post not having even looked at my 2007 predictions once in the past 11 months. But it’s so rare that someone owns up to their predictions — especially when they were wrong.
So it’s time to score myself (letter grade style) on how accurately I predicted the future of this volatile space we call online video.
My biggest miscalculation was predicting that YouTube would die! And I was very critical of Google’s acquisition. It’s still not profitable, but it has an incredible share and Google as a parent. Contrast that with Revver, which I would have invested in before YouTube any day. Revver’s still moving along, but delivering far fewer views and revenue to creators than I would have guessed. D minus here.
- Online video and television collide then converge (D-). Wow is this happening more slowly than I hoped and guessed. We’ve seen some trivial collision with YouTube and Viacom battles, but we’re far from what I’d call convergence. WebJunk and iWatch aren’t what I expected. I wanted to see more cable boxes streaming amateur content. While MacMini and iPhone are a step in the right direction, the Joosts are moving slowly. Then again- Rome wasn’t burned in a day.
- Consolidation of online video sites will increase exponentially (B+). This is happening, but in a different way than I expected. Instead of larger properties acquiring the little guys, the consolidation is largely with YouTube/Google. The views and traffic to the smaller guys are rising, but the bulk of the share is growing in the long tail or with legacy players moving online.
- Viral video creators will “cross over” to television (F). What ever happened to Amanda Congdon or ZeFrank shows? Has anyone really crossed over? Sure LonelyGirl became a household name, and Oprah featured YouTube. But we can unfortunately count the amateurs who are now on television on one hand. My second prediction was that celebrities would move online. I did nail that one (FunnyOrDie much), and they’re going to squash some of us amateurs in 2008. They have built equity and they’re getting far edgier than I would have imagined. In this “Green Team” clip, Will Ferrell pretends to rape a woman. It’d be great if the stars collaborated with the weblebrities like Clinton Kelly and sweet Katie Couric did with me. Alas, we amateurs need them more than they need us.
- Many television shows will develop online manifestations (A-). This has happened and continues to happen. Webisodes and blogs are promoted on television shows in a desperate attempt to move audiences online in places networks can monetize.
- Consortiums will form for economies of scale (C+). We’re seeing some small production houses focusing on low-cost, decent value webisodes and internet video (that they can upsell to networks). ForYourImagination and Next New Networks are good examples. But the big network consortiums (the Viacom attempt to compete with YouTube) fizzled.
- Select amateur video creators will begin to make a full-time living without “crossing over” to television (B-). This is the saddest part of the online-video revolution. I probably made more last year in advertising revenue than I did this year. Sure there are select creators that have made nice money (Kipkay on Metacafe did nearly $80K, and I’m sure some Revver directors have made that or more).
- A major news story will break via live (or close to live) footage by “citizen journalists” holding cameras (A). I got this one right. Remember the Virginia Tech footage shot by an amateur? CNN and other news networks are now inviting amateur video clips.
- Marketers will get smarter about how they gain consumer mindshare through online video (D-). Well… I tried.
- Real vs. fake will be a major 2007 theme (C+). People are getting a bit more savvy about the difference between real vlogging and LonelyGirl storytelling. And the pop in online video is, in part, due to our desperation for something authentic.
- The “big boy” sites are going to start sharing advertising revenue with select creators like some smaller sites (A+). Got that one right. YouTube is now making more and more amateurs “Partners,” which was once reserved strictly for media companies.