Which online-video site is mostly likely to be part of the bridge between television and the Internet? You can fault the model, and question it’s sustainability. But Yahoo TV is well poised to leverage its partnerships with Verizon and TiVo to start serving its bite-sized video content via television sets equipped with broadband boxes.
Take, for example, Yahoo TV’s “Prime Time in No Time,” a show hosted by Frank Nicotero that recaps the prior evening’s television shows. It’s interesting on at least two levels:
- It appeals to TV junkies. I’m not sure there’s a market for general prime-time recaps (since audiences tend to form around tighter niches). But it’s clearly targeted at TV viewers who maybe need some hand holding to start consuming via Yahoo’s mini-TV play. With some prime time promotion, I can see this audience growing.
- The ad model is interesting. Verizon gets a brief intro (not a preroll that I noticed), some banner wrap-arounds, and even a logo tucked nicely in the host’s corner frame. It’s dominant without being obtrusive.
So we’re still in the infancy of the “TV and online video” collision, which is clearly going to take much more time than we hoped. I’m far less interested in television administered in once-a-day pills (instead of intravanious drips). I find the more fascinating side to be the amateur creators gaining broader exposure than they currently get (assuming they’re good enough, and have consistent content that appeal to steady audiences even if relatively small).
While YouTube is still better poised for the latter, Yahoo comes at the web more like AOL: looking more like TV on the computer than web video as most consume it now. So we see less and more polished content, but fairly superficial interaction between the content and its audience. It’s still “one to many” unlike the magic of online video “many to many” play.
It’s Amazon not eBay.
As an example, one of my few popular videos on Yahoo has 90K views but just 90 comments. While one in a thousand comment on Yahoo Video, most of my YouTube videos get 1-2 percent of viewers commenting. My Mac Air spoof got 27K views with 13 comments, while the same Mac Air spoof on YouTube got 374K views and 1564 comments.
Typically the initial online successes are “pure plays” and not an offline entity moving in. This is true with almost any industry: gaming, retail, travel and media. But it will take a few failures along the way. YahooTV is bringing TV and online video ever so slightly closer together — even if it ends up being a log over the river.
Note that Yahoo Video (the quasi amateur section) still exists, but it’s not part of the primary menu on Yahoo. In fact, I almost gave up in my search for it, so it’s not likely drawing in many Yahoo users (Alexa won’t let me isolate http://video.yahoo.com/ from Yahoo.com, so I don’t know how it’s fairing). The featured videos seem to get paltry views relative to YouTube features, and even the Yahoo Video Awards blog post has just 35 comments 4 days after announced (by contrast, most top 100 YouTubers get that kind of views and interactions within an hour of posting).
P.S. Updated 3/27: Check out what InsideOnlineVideo has to say about Yahoo.