Wowzer how about the peaks and valleys of online video in the past year. I had a peek at Alexa.com to see how some of the smaller independent online-video sites are holding up. Not too well based on traffic. A caveat: Alexa does not capture visitors precisely, or count the embedded views. So these pictures may tell a sadder story than reality.
Still, it’s clear that the top online video properties are mostly established players not independents (below is Nielsen chart from last year). Hulu, YouTube and Facebook are well-backed startups or owned by large companies, and the rest are established media brands (MSN, Fox, CNN, ESPN, MLB).
The lesson learned from the flat or declining charts below? While there are plenty of places to benefit economically from the convergence of computers and television, the odds are not good for creating a profitable independent destination even if it’s supported by advertising. If you have a desire to create a video community, you’d be wise to use OPP (other people’s programming) and stick to the curating and community.
- Revver (first site to share advertising revenue with creators). Revver, like YouTube, was designed not as a website but as a publisher/creator platform. It was perhaps too early to the space. YouTube and Facebook show that what matters most in a new industry is to get critical mass and leadership position. Profit comes later.
- Veoh, now part of Qlipso, a social-content sharing company… down from earlier in 2010.
- Metacafe seems to be returning to its low from last spring. It appears to be morphing into a shell for Hulu.
- Blip.tv is holding its own… and most of its views are probably embedded elsewhere so not represented here.
- FunnyOrDie isn’t trending significantly, but continues to be mercurial in traffic. One moment flooded with traffic for a new celebrity video, and otherwise mostly forgotten. Fortunately it seems well sponsored with entertainment advertisers, rather than paltry network ads.
- Vimeo, with its focus on a creative and artistic community, is one of the few independent online-video sites doing quite well at attracting traffic.
To end on a sad note, “hyped Internet television startup” Joost is “spinning off” as an advertising network. So if you’re trying to make money in the online-video space, you’d better get a cool haircut and some teenage fans.