Wednesday, March 07, 2007

A Very Good Day in the Life for SightSpeed -- PC Magazine "Editors' Choice", PC World Kudos & More ...

Okay, my blog is about digital media -- and I try to cover all the bases and stay away from outright promotion of SightSpeed (and, the feedback I have received is that I have done a pretty good job of that).

But, sometimes, you just gotta boast -- and today is one of those days. As reported already by Andy Abramson, SightSpeed 6.0 (just officially launched on Monday) was just awarded the coveted PC Magazine "Editors' Choice" award ("brilliantly clear free video calls"). And, we just learned that PC World also gave 6.0 a great review ("[6.0's] performance -- especially its ability to sync audio and video -- was impressive").

But, there's more -- just learned also that both Laptop Magazine (March 2007 print edition) and The Christian Science Monitor (March 7 edition) prominently and very positively featured SightSpeed and the overall emotion and "humanity" that video uniquely brings to the experience of online interactivity.

A very good day indeed, so indulge me a bit on this one.

I will go back to blogging about overall digital media trends tomorrow -- but, today, I can tell you without hesitation that I am very proud of our team of dedicated and passionate folks at SightSpeed. That's how you innovate ...

The Perils of "Traditional" Online Video -- and the Power of "Personal Video"

Viacom's ongoing feud with Google's YouTube -- its demand several weeks ago for YouTube to immediately take down Viacom-related content -- underscores the continuing perils of operating a traditional online video destination site like YouTube and others of its ilk. While YouTube and other such sites have struck a number of content licensing deals in recent months with "traditional" media companies, many other deals continue to be out of their grasp (Viacom, as an example, with YouTube).

Yesterday, Viacom's CEO Philippe Dauman addressed his ongoing dispute with YouTube by arguing that YouTube's prior "unauthorized" use of its content harmed its company in two specific ways: (1) cost it advertising dollars; and (2) placed its content on a platform with other content that was inappropriate and made its advertisers uncomfortable. Speaking at the same conference, Google's CEO Eric Schmidt countered traditional media's claim that its content has a certain intrinsic value, by bluntly asking traditional media companies to "prove it" -- a position that certainly won't win him pats on the back from the content providers who helped propel the success of YouTube in the first place.

Ultimately, deals will be struck between Google's YouTube, Viacom and many others, because the overall opportunity is too great.

But, lost amid much of this noise, "Personal Video" is an extremely powerful form of online video that avoids the copyright and IP issues facing essentially all of the current online video sites. "Personal video" in my view is user video captured primarily by a web cam (rather than uploaded clips from a camcorder). Why is personal video interesting? Well, avoiding IP issues in itself is interesting, but there is much more to it than that. "Personal Video" offers unique perspectives of the user both physically (generally these are close up shots) and content-wise -- these perspectives may be spontaneous, they may be scripted -- they may be about a topic such as global warming, or they may be about nothing at all (just a thought captured in time about any topic or no topic at all). But, because they represent close up shots and thoughts of users, they are frequently extremely interesting and addictive to watch. "Personal Video" already is used in a significant way via private video mails (friends to friends, family to family, colleague to colleague), as well as live video interaction (video calling) -- SightSpeed, as an example, places private personal video front and center into its services.

But, "Personal Video" is poised to make a much bigger splash in the public realm in a way that simply has not yet been done. Obviously, existing social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook present a prime opportunity to incorporate "personal video" and, thereby, take their experiences to the next level by empowering their users to "connect" with one another in a compelling new way. Nothing, I repeat NOTHING, connects like video. It adds an entirely new dimension to online interaction.

And, expect to see new entrants in the public "personal video" space soon, as the power of personal video becomes front and center to the overall community experience. I will have more to report here soon ...