I am sure that, like me, many people are excited about YouTube but are, at the same time, reluctant to go to that site as we have no idea what to do once we get there.
Okay, you hang around a bit, click on a few video clips. If you hit a good one you stay a bit longer; if you hit a few duds (most of them) then you are out quite quickly.
Unlike MySpace, which has a far more defined purpose in new media land, YouTube is a novelty that will not survive in its current format. For the moment there is the excitement of video, unshackled from the TV and film moguls, and we’ll enjoy this for as long as the excitement around our ‘liberation’ lasts. However, after the initial thrill is over, we need more if we are to stay attracted to such a service, and if video-based communication is going to move into other websites.
Already video clips are a key component of MySpace and other social networks on the Net, and it makes much more sense to have these user-generated video clips in these places. When I want a clip relating to international events, for example, I go to the BBC site; for a local item I go to The Australian; for Sydney events, to The Sydney Morning Herald; business events, The New York Times, AFR and Financial Times. For entertainment we select media companies such as TV and radio stations; for good quality background information, ABC Radio National, and so on.
Again, all of these sites will soon have their own sections with user-generated content, be it video clips, podcasts or blogs.
All of this is proof that customers are looking for trusted sources for certain information, entertainment etc. But they also go to these sites to see if there is perhaps something that they are not necessarily looking for, but could be interested in – and they only know that by going to the site.
While there is certainly room for new companies within this new media landscape, the majority will gravitate back to a range of trusted media sites. And in the case of user-generated content such as the millions of video clips it makes sense if these are clustered together – either around the ‘trusted’ sites that already exist, or, if enough momentum is gained around a particular topic, a new ‘trusted’ site may emerge.
At the moment we are mainly seeing international developments such as MySpace, YouTube, Yahoo, Google, etc. However, national sites are now emerging, especially in those countries where English isn’t the first language. It will not take long before every community has its own site – and often the smaller the community the more interesting and active the site will be.
In the end, this last development will be one of the most significant and long-lasting results of this Internet/broadband revolution.
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