The online video space once unquestionably dominated by YouTube has lately taken on some new, significant players – several of them of a social origin. Snapchat, Twitter, and Facebook have all shifted their focus to video and video discovery, hoping to create new hubs for the ever-growing population of online video consumers.
Here are what some of these “new players” in video are up to, and why – whether you’re a media company, an advertiser, or independent creator – you should be paying attention to them:
The company once known only for its disappearing social photos and videos has been all over entertainment news as of late because of its new video strategy. Now boasting partnerships with publishers like Vice, CNN, Food Network, ESPN, People, and Comedy Central, the app has a new video discovery feature (aptly called “Discover”), which delivers short-form video content that remains on the platform for 24 hours.
Unlike the YouTube-esque approach of sharing based on virality, Snapchat aims to promote quality over quantity when it comes to video discovery by including in-depth content from widely respected publishers (editorial content goes along with the videos, and each publisher offers multiple stories per day).
Snapchat deems itself a publisher, too. The company’s Snap Channel, which is available alongside channels from other publishers, will feature several original series, including one that will star YouTube and Vine stars called “SnapperHero.”
Facebook has been reporting its own success with video plenty, lately noting that video posts on the social platform (wait, now they call it a “video platform”) have gone up 75% globally in the past year, increasing by 94% in the US alone.
Facebook has also been releasing video features that have long been available on YouTube, including view counters, recommended videos, and organized playlists on “pages” dedicated to video. The social – I mean video – platform also acquired LiveRail a while ago to step up their advertising game, and its recent acquisition of QuickFire Networks will help run video on the site that takes up less bandwidth without compromising quality.
Of course, the company has also been courting media companies, Hollywood studios, YouTube creators, and advertisers to create and distribute content natively on its social network, and is incentivising them by making native Facebook video posts reach farther on the social network than posts that embed third-party (YouTube) content.
In short: Video has become a huge deal for Facebook, and that’s not stopping anytime soon.
Twitter kicked off native video with third-party publishers (brands and media companies) and enabled super short videos (Vines and GIFs) to play on the social platform. Recently, Twitter gave all users the ability to shoot, edit, and share their own videos natively on the platform. Videos can last up to 30 seconds (twice the length of Instagram’s). The platform’s also been experimenting with dockable videos, so people can watch while they tweet.
Video on Twitter is less of a sure thing than Facebook and YouTube. While the social platform is a terrific driver of traffic, it’s not yet proven that people will stick around to watch videos within an individual tweet.
The media and entertainment industries have been buzzing about former Hulu CEO Jason Kilar’s digital video startup for a long time – and that buzz went into overdrive once it was revealed that Vessel indeed wanted to take on YouTube and build a Hulu for premium short form content.
The company has been active in courting publishers and YouTube creators to distribute content on its service, often on an exclusive, early window basis.
Its pitch? While YouTube takes a 45% cut of YouTubers’ ad revenue, Vessel will just take 30% of their ad revenue and 40% of subscription revenue, which takes into account time watched. In other words, if one creator’s videos make up 5% of the total minutes spent on Vessel’s subscription service, they’ll get 5% of the creators’ total subscription revenue pot. For viewers, the platform seeks to appeal to super fans, offering early access to their favorite creators’ videos (before they go live on any other platform) for a $2.99 subscription.
Dailymotion is by no means a new player in the online-video space, but it’s recently made a big move that’s worth keeping track of. The company just launched Dailymotion Games, a live-streaming service that it hopes can compete with Twitch for online gaming video superiority. Interestingly, Dailymotion Games creators have control over the ads that run with their content, which is how monetisation happens, and there’s also real-time chatting and video recommendations on the site (games.Dailymotion.com).
There’s a reason Amazon spent a pretty penny on Twitch. The company, which offers a live-streaming platform for gameplay videos and related content, reportedly increased its monthly views from 45 million in January 2014 to 100 million this January.
While that’s remarkable growth, Twitch has also been taking steps to improve its platforms as more eyes turn toward it – and not just from gamers and fans. It recently launched a Music Library through which users can get copyright-safe tunes to play over their gaming sessions (at zero charge for the users). That’s what a big media company has to do, especially when it’s worth close to a billion dollars.
Jessica Klein is a reporter at VideoInk, supporting the publication’s coverage of online video. Read all of her posts here!
For more of VideoInk’s analysis on what happened in 2014 as well as what to look forward to in 2015, we recommend VideoInk’s profile on Rooster Teeth, its Digital Network of the Year; Bernie Su, its Digital Creator of the Year; and its features on the “10 Startups & Technologies to Watch in 2015” and 2015 predictions for the industry by the industry.