Video creators often choose to go wherever the largest audience is, and right now a lot of the audience is at YouTube, whose dominance has been steadily growing for a long time.
According to Comscore, YouTube serves a mammoth 34% of all internet videos. 34% may not sound too impressive, until you compare it to their closest competitor, Myspace, who serves a paltry 6% of all internet video. One effect of this massive market share is that hardware manufacturers and 3rd parties are making deals with YouTube, but aren’t interested in supporting other platforms. Another is that viewers go directly to YouTube to conduct searches and watch videos.
This means that independent creators like Glenn Wolsey are forced to move their programs onto YouTube, lest they be left without an audience. Although this post is rather old, it clearly illustrates my point:
Putting it in perspective, if you were to publish a video to the web, would you prefer to upload it to YouTube where you have millions of potential viewers from all over the world, via computers, the Apple TV, the iPod touch, and the iPhone within minutes uploading it, or alternatively, would you prefer to upload it to a smaller video site to retain a somewhat â€˜betterâ€™ community feeling?
Glenn is just one of so many creators who has been forced to make this difficult decision: retain control over the presentation and format of the video, or reach the largest viewing audience in the world.
I think there’s a growing awareness of what “Open Video” means; however, there are still a lot of folks that assume the internet is universally open, democratic, and completely decentralized. While in many cases the internet is all of these things, with video it’s clearly not the case — the risk of a monopoly is clear and present.
Here at PCF we’re going to be co-organizing a campaign to help frame these important issues and arm people with information and tools to help mitigate the monopolistic effects of YouTube. We’ll be working to spread the meme of truly open and democratic web video, helping everyone to see where we’re at and to push for something much better.