Internet Video: The 21st Century’s Gold Rush

But thanks to an overtaxed infrastructure, the profitable vein could shrivel

Internet VideoEveryone knows about the 1849 ”gold rush,” when eager entrepreneurs from all over the world flooded California in hopes of striking it rich. In just six years, though, the rush was over, leaving in its wake a few millionaires but a lot more paupers.

The Internet is kind of the gold rush of the 21st century. eBay, iTunes, and video sharing site MetaCafe are all ways in which modern prospectors are making money (some a little, some a lot) online. Video, the hottest of Internet content, could also be the most lucrative. The New York Times yesterday reported that ”how-to videos” could be the biggest revenue generator of user-generated vids: A Florida-based producer, whose clips are on varied topics like ”how to turn a flashlight into a laser” and ”how to simulate a gunshot wound,” earned more than $102,000 in a year from MetaCafe, which pays content owners according to how many views their videos garner.

But as more people seek fortune – or at least fame – via Internet video, the whole thing threatens to crumble as fast as did the last gold mines in California. That’s thanks, ironically, to video itself.

ZDNet News recently reported that the Internet’s architecture could reach its limits by 2010 – unable to handle the vast amounts of video being uploaded. ”Eight hours of video is loaded onto YouTube every minute. Everything will become HD [high-definition] very soon, and HD is seven to 10 times more bandwidth-hungry than typical video today. Video will be 80 percent of all traffic by 2010, up from 30 percent today,” said Jim Cicconi, AT&T’s vice president of legislative affairs.

Of course, Mr. Cicconi could have been trying to attack the notion of ”net neutrality,” in which consumer advocates want governments to make sure service providers like AT&T don’t ”unfairly” prioritize online content.

However slowly or reluctantly, though, telecos will make the inevitable improvements to infrastructure that supports the Internet, since they have to compete for customers. So digital marketers shouldn’t eschew video marketing for fear of taking down the Web. Still, these two very strongly pro and con reports about video should make marketers more aware than ever about the need for multi-channel campaigns. Video, as important as it is, should be just one component – along with other online channels like email, and with non-Internet channels like SMS and traditional print ads.

In other words, don’t put all your eggs in one gold-pan.

Eydie Cubarrubia
Marketing Communications Manager, mobileStorm
”I’d rather you text me”

 

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