- WEB STARTUPS
- WEB JOBS
- ALL TOPICS
Live video sharing service Ustream is announcing some new stats about the take rate on their service along with a new round of funding.
They claim: more than 115,000 people have joined Ustream.TV broadcasting one million unique viewer hours per month. Each day, 5,000 hours of video are broadcast on Ustream.TV with up to 300 simultaneous broadcasts taking place, attracting hundreds of thousands of viewers. The Plain White T’s broadcasted a live concert on Ustream.TV to more than 150,000 fans worldwide.
Ustream is also announcing additional funding from Western Technology Investors, the Band of Angels, and other prominent angel investors. They have also added four-star General Wesley Clark to Ustream.TV’s Board of Advisors. My guess based on General Clark’s comments is that Ustream is focusing on the political side of live video. While I am not into politics heavily, I can imagine that this would be a strong strategy as it might allow a "fan" to watch their selected politicians as they travel around their districts.
So far the most fun I had on Ustream was the Techcrunch party this summer in California. It was fun to count the blue shirts and khaki pants with everyone in the chat and I even did a recap based on the interviews that took place.
So what’s going on over at Justin.tv? When Justin launched his tv network, the idea was that he slapped a camera on his head and filmed everything that he saw 24/7. Sleep, eat, dates, everything. It was an interesting perspective. Watch the world through the eyes of a person. Justine quickly jumped in and joined the action. I reviewed the network in March, and noted the following key points:
- Who the F cares? (I still say the same thing today)
- Is it really a live twitter?
- This is like a live Big Brother
- Archive (they have this now)
Last week I decided to take another look at the Justin.tv network. This idea came based on watching a few of Justine’s videos over the past month (including the ATT bill video) and noticing that fewer and fewer of them were about watching what her eyes see, but more about watching her. I knew she would eventually flip the camera around, at least partially. I am guessing her show will be (if it isn’t already) more popular than Justin himself.
Where did Justin go? He made it on the (real) tv shows earlier in the year, got some publicity and now he shows me a video of their office. So the live 24 hour feed has been reduced to a "once-in-a-while". He has signed the Naked Cowboy and while cool when live in Times Square, he’s just as boring to watch at home.
Now we are back to basically a Web 1.0 webcam view. Sure the technology has moved forward and we can watch someone sitting at a bar or at a McDonalds, but who really wants to watch this? Thiry-second clips are fun and quick but do I really want to sit in front of my computer chatting with other people about x person doing y thing? Oh no, Sam just ate a french fry, what’s next a burger?!?! B-O-R-I-N-G!
Just to be clear, I think live video shows could work very well. The Ustream interviews at TC9 were great. Two hours of different people taking 5-10 minutes to talk about their product or service. Live video from a conference: another winner. Basically I am suggesting is that purpose-driven shows work and are very powerful.
Now that the novelty has worn off, will Justin.tv remain a viable network? When the head of the network is currently (for hours now) streaming a "chair" – it’s time for help. Part of Justin.tv’s success will need to be in two methods: promotion and signings. He needs to sell the network to other livecasters as they can send traffic back to the overall network. But if he has given up the headcam just a couple of months into it, why should I be a part of the network?
Here is my bet: The name will change within the next six months – this ain’t Craigslist ya’all!
ON24 Inc., a media marketing provider, published a report last week about webcasts and specifically the B2B industry. The report looks at webcasts under 60 minutes in length.
Mediapost has a good report summary which includes:
The report shows that registration and attendance is cyclical depending on the time of year or week:
- Forty-seven percent of all registrations occur in the 10 days before a scheduled webcast, with 10.41% registering on the day of the webcast
- The months of December, June and August registered the highest registrant-to-attendee conversion percentages of 64.71%, 58.43% and 57.14% respectively
- Most registrations occurred earlier in the week – Monday (23%), Tuesday (21%), Wednesday (19%) – with the fewest percentage over the weekend
In my 12+ years running online promotions and email campaigns, I have found that Tuesday works best for sweepstakes and Thursday works best for coupon offers. On CN, I try to think about which stories work best on which days. Outside of news, every story can be scheduled based on what I believe the reader response will be.
The conclusions of the report include:
- There is a cyclical trend of when publishers schedule and deliver webcasts, with registration and attendee levels seeming to rise when there are a lower number of webcasts scheduled
- Archiving a live webcast contributes 15.34% of all registrations, indicating that archiving extends the ROI of the live webcast
- Forty-seven percent of all registrations occurred in the 10 days before a webcast while most of these registrations occurred earlier in the week (Monday-Wednesday) versus later in the week and weekend
While the findings are based on B2B but I think sites (and webcasters, livecasters and podcasters) such as Justin.tv and Ustream might benefit from this information. I am sure Ustream will provide archives at some point for some of their shows.
Someone on Y Combinator News posted a link to an interesting Alexa chart.
I have embedded the chart below using Alexa's new groovy charting service. I could not get the chart to work, so here is a link.
As you can see, Justin is fading (though he is still below 20,000 which is awesome) and Ustream is trending upwards. They are almost at the same spot now. Some on Y Comb are saying Justin is playing around to tweak his Alexa ranking, I don't see anything of the such. Nothing like Jason's attempt last year.
Now, in Justin's defense, what does this traffic chart really mean when people are spending so much time watching his videos. So they may only view the page one time a day but sit on it for 4 hours at a time. This is why Alexa is broken. And actually in this case, all of the stats apps are broken. Same thing with Ustream. Also remember that users might watch Justin's videos elsewhere. When will we be able to capture the entire brand across the web. This part just frustrates the heck out of me. You can also read our other coverage of Justin.tv and Ustream.
Update: Corsin sent over a twitter, aim, skype, irc, and text sms that Matthew Ingram wrote about the same topic yesterday. His article is here. I guess I am not alone with my views or he is not alone with his views.
When have we gone too far? When Justin.tv launched, I started to ask myself this question and again looked at my 2007 prediction that we will spend more time offline than in 2006. First we had chats such ad MUDs where people used virtual worlds to chat with other people. I remember using it in college to talk with other buddies about girls we liked. There might have been something before this but this is the first I remember.
I also can think back to the days of calling into a BBS. Oh how much money I spent on several BBSs over short periods of time.
Then we moved to the world of IRC where chatting was a 24×7 process. Bots, fighting, takeovers, etc. and we learned more and more about people. Multiple networks showed up and now even include the Dateline NBC show on online fraud. Of course there was also AOL chat with thousands of rooms. I remember speaking with many people who would not go to sleep just to not lose their nicknames.
Then we moved to instant messaging. First one I remember hitting it big was ICQ. I had a very low number that seemed to get me some street cred when I gave it out. It was a good app as it brought people together in new ways. You could communicate with people directly without the channel crap. It was more secure.
Then AIM came along and owned the market for a time. And so and and so on. And don't forget the first webcam channels. Those were classic.
Then Geocities came around (and now MySpace) that let us have our own little space online. Today sites such as MySpace, YouTube and blogs allow us to create our own world where people can peek into our lives.
Cell phones now do pictures and video and get us the best shots of news events. YouTube made us all movie directors and brought us as close to live as we have ever been.
Now we have twitter. Pete calls twitter the ultimate cat blog application. If you use it for your personal life, I find many times there is just too much information. I don't care that you are walking your dog, or that you are putting up a new Boys II Men poster on your bedroom wall. If used effectively, twitter can be a good networking and group tool. But knowing that Jason just came back from a 30 minute walk is not necessary and just shows fan boy necessity.
Now I see UStream.tv has gone full steam ahead. What does it do? It let's you stream yourself using a webcam and a laptop and a wireless/wifi internet connection. So let me ask my question again… when have we gone too far? You can watch video blogger Robert Scoble walk around Web 2.0 Expo. I hope he remembers that he is live. Will people be reluctant to speak to him since every single word is being captured for all eternity? I know on my interviews, many of the interviewees ask to do a retake at least once during the interview. And will the Ron Popeil's of the world flood this new medium with every ginsu knife and rotisserie? How will spammers use this new medium or is it spammer-proof?
Why is there a need to be connected at every minute of every day. Michael Arrington took a day off and felt bad about it. Are we setting a new standard that you must be completely live 24×7 365 to be successful? Remember, we are the ones that moved (and accepted) the work day from 9-5 to 24×7. We started it, we have accepted it.
Maybe I am right and all of these live shows are just a fad and people will remember that not everything needs to be televised. Or maybe I am wrong and this is the new TV. Forget watching friends that is scripted… just watch xyz person and their live friends show every minute of every day. As hard as it is, sometimes it's nice to get out in the fresh air (or the NYC nor'easter we have here). There's my rant/thoughts/ramblings for today :) Feel free to bash.