FOR THE WEEK OF OCT. 01, 2007
YouTube gets more competition as online videos expand
User-generated content enlivens newspapers. Ask students to point out examples of how readers can interact with the newspaper and each other. See if any class members have used those methods.
Category labels help video site users find content of interest. Invite pupils to discuss how newspapers also organize related topics and give users tools to spot what they search for.
Some online video promote opinions or business interests. Start a discussion of whether newspapers draw a clearer line between facts, commentary and commercial pitches.
YouTube remains the center of the video-sharing universe, but its closest rival is creating buzz and attracting lots of new visitors. The serious challenge comes from MySpace, which recently set up its video-posting service as an independent channel called MySpace TV (www.myspacetv.com) that's open to nonmembers in 15 countries. Yahoo, Microsoft, AOL and dozens of other sites also invite visitors to post or watch short videos.
MySpace distinguishes its new venture by emphasizing professional videos rather than cute animal clips or teen bedroom confessionals. MySpace TV is the exclusive site for five-minute "minisodes" of Diff'rent Strokes, Silver Spoons and other 1980s sitcoms, for instance. It also will show made-for-the-web movies from established studios. In addition, the massively popular social networking pioneer, with attracts an astonishing 110 million users each month – more than the population of small countries – makes it easier now for members to integrate videos into personal profiles. And later this year, MySpace plans to launch an online video editing service as an alternative to YouTube's Remixer suite of tools.
For its part, YouTube is expanding its global reach with more foreign-language video portals. More than half its audience is overseas. Here at home – where YouTube was founded in February 2005 and bought by Google in October 2006 for $1.65 billion – the site draws about 58 million monthly viewers. MySpace is next with just over 50 million U.S. viewers, an independent monitoring firm says. While many YouTube clips are user-generated, it also features professional music videos, extreme sports and presidential candidates promoting their campaign. Hillary Clinton invited viewers to vote for her theme song and Barack Obama posted a 5 1/2-minute video titled Rebuilding New Orleans, Two Years Later. During summer, YouTube co-sponsored a Democratic candidates’ debate with videotaped questions from users. In another traffic-building move, Apple includes direct wireless access to YouTube via its iPhone.
MySpace co-founder says: "MySpace has been focused on video and has quietly come within striking distance of YouTube." – Chris DeWolfe, chief executive
YouTube executive says: "We are focused on continuing to provide a global platform for our community to express themselves, share experiences and inspire one another." – Ricardo Reyes, company spokesman
Blogger says: "YouTube has succeeded where no other video site has -- making it easy enough and trendy enough to help people painlessly share videos online." -- Melissa Perenson, PC World
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