Why Social Curation is Important for the Online Video Industry

As per comScore Oct 2010 data more than 175 million U.S. Internet users watched online video content for an average of 15.1 hours per viewer (http://bit.ly/ifjfFQ). Social video curation is process where after watching a video the user shares that video with his social network by either posting it on his Facebook wall, Tweeting the video link or embedding the video on his blog etc.

On an average each user has approx 220 friends on Facebook, approx 30 followers on Twitter etc. Each user by the process of social curation creates a large multiplier effect and creates a rich volume of real-time data which could be more useful than the TV rating systems. Now imagine a service that takes this large volume of curated video data and leveraging machine algorithms creates a compelling video discovery experience that mimics broadcast TV but has all the smarts running in the cloud.
The experience (unlike broadcast TV) is personalized and consumers discover videos that people with similar tastes are watching and what is trending in real-time. Services powered by social curation will fundamentally impact the search business and connected devices business. The manner in which they will impact each of the businesses are summarized below:

1.       Impact on share of online minutes of Search: Video creates large amount of online minutes. As per comScore the US user watched 36.5 BN videos and consumed 156 BN minutes in the month of July 2010. Data is already showing that people are spending more online minutes on social networks like Facebook and Twitter than on Google.
With social curation of videos the consumer is more likely to discover videos in his Facebook News Feed or in his Twitter feed rather than searching for it. As per TubeMogul research referral traffic for online video from Facebook and Twitter is growing faster than search engines http://bit.ly/9WkMQw. The problem in past has been that social networks like Facebook, twitter etc have not created a rich consumption experience across devices like touch enabled tablet, 10 ft experience on connected TV or on smart phones.

A services that uses curated video data to create a compelling consumption experience across devices could lead to greater consumption of videos on these services. Hence the consumer would have lower propensity to search. In the future these kind of video discovery services could potentially garner a larger share of online minutes (probably at the expense of search).

2.      Impact on devices: Currently the device manufacturers are taking a fragmented approach to online video. The current approach is to allow content owners to put their apps on the App store/platform of the device manufacturer. The content owners are expected to do most of the heavy lifting in defining the consumer experience and in deployment across different App stores.

With social curation becoming another compelling way to discover videos the user would want a service that helps him consume curated videos from multiple sources all at one place. In the future the device manufacturers (tablet, connected TV, smart phone) could start offering a video discovery service that aggregates curated content from multiple sources and creates a personal experience powered by an individual’s social connections.

The video discovery service would be expected to do most of the work in defining the consumer experience across different devices. Will this video discovery service be owned by the device manufacturer or will it be a 3rd party service is a million dollar question.

The likelihood of this being a 3rd party service which works across different devices and brands is highly likely.

What’s your take?

[Guest article written by Rajnish, cofounder of Shufflr.tv. Reproduced from Rajnish’s blog.]

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