Microsoft, Yahoo!, the merger and Google – Online Video

First let’s take a look at some comScore statistics on this one:

videocomparison_3 News

Google Video Sites:
Google Video
YouTube

Yahoo! Video Sites:
Yahoo! Video
Yahoo! Live

Microsoft Video Site(s):
MSN Video (includes Soapbox)

Note: YouTube.com accounted for more than 97 percent of all videos
viewed at Google property.
 

So what does the above tell us? First it tells us that Google dominates in this area, both in number of videos viewed and unique video viewers. Biggest share in it is taken by YouTube. I have cut out other sites in the above stats (to watch the full table in the source article, click on the table), but a combination of Yahoo! and Microsoft sites would pass the current number 2, Fox Interactive Media (U.S. share: videos watched 3.5%, unique video viewers 23.9%). Fox Interactive Media (MySpace, Photobucket Image Hosting) is owned by News Corporation. News Corporation you say? Isn’t Yahoo! in negotiations with them? Yes, they are. More about what’s happening in the negotiations area can be found on our Microsoft – Yahoo! Page.

Lots of buzz around online video lately, in particular about live streaming. Yahoo! has recently launched Yahoo! Live. This is an experimental release and got announced on their blog, Y! Live Blog, in Y! Live – The world is watching:

Y! Live was dreamed up as a way to make it possible for anyone to create their own live video experience. Broadcast the concert you’re at. Webcast your own live DJ set. Lifecast….

For viewers: How is Y! Live different from other online video sites? That’s simple: it’s live. What you’re watching, right now, is what other people are watching, right now. We wanted to create an experience that takes us back to live television, where things are happening now, in real time.

For broadcasters: You’ve been posting your stuff to MySpace and YouTube. Now, connect with your fans in real time on Y! Live. There is something intangible about a live performance – an excitement that you can’t replicate in pre-recorded format. Broadcast a performance, interact with your fans with video and chat, embed your broadcast anywhere – it’s all possible on Y! Live.

For developers: Check out our developer preview of our API and embeddable components, and well as a sample app and tutorial we threw together…..

Michael Arrington over at TechCrunch writes about Yahoo! Live:

Given all the chaos this week surrounding Microsoft’s bid to take over Yahoo, it’s not surprising that a new Yahoo product launch wouldn’t have an abundance of exuberance attached to it….

It is very similar to existing live streaming services like Stickam, Justin.tv and Ustream and Blogtv. Users create a channel, authorize their webcam and start broadcasting to the public. Other people can drop by and watch, or choose to participate via video, sound or text chat.

We’re still testing it, but for now the service is very unstable and keeps going down. It’s also clearly got a ways to go with features – videos are not archived for playback, for example, meaning once it’s broadcast live, that’s it…..

I’ve found an interesting article about one of the live streaming services Michael mentions: Microsoft  Looking To Purchase Ustream? Now if this is going to happen it would most certainly boost Microsoft’s share in Online Video Land. Yahoo! has only just started experimenting with live streaming and Ustream has established itself as the leading platform for live, interactive microbroadcasting already. Even though Ustream focuses more on broadcasts of events (fits in perfectly fine on MSN Video), rather than streaming individuals, I can see this technique being used for Soapbox (user videos) too. If incorporated fast they may even beat Google to bringing live streaming, as there are rumors Google may offer live streaming from YouTube later this year.

Another factor that will greatly improve MSN Video/Soapbox is the use of Microsoft Silverlight (benefits, such as offering – up to HD quality video on the Web for Mac and Windows today, and Linux later on), which is planned already (probably before this summer according to Nathan Weinberg in the Ustream purchase article).

Can a Microsoft/Yahoo combination compete with Google? I believe so, certainly if Microsoft buys Ustream. What do you think?