Move Over, YouTube, Here Come Your Competitors

YouTube may be the undisputed champion of video on the Web — the company controls about 60 percent of the market, according to Hitwise — but the video-sharing site isn't the only game in town.

In fact, about 1,000 sites are vying for consumer attention, using technology such as high-definition video and content, including full-length films and TV episodes, to set themselves apart from the world's most popular video site.

All that competition may be a bit confusing when you're looking for a particular video clip or even when you just want to find something to watch. But the broad diversity of Internet video sites ensures that there is always something on no matter what your taste or interests.

Internet video sites fall into three broad categories: search sites that filter and find video content across the Web, aggregators that collect video and make it available from a central site and channels or networks that promote video content according to subject matter.

BlogTV

This online video blogging channel makes it very easy for anyone — even people with little technical know-how — to broadcast live video on the Internet. Each BlogTV user has his or her own page where live broadcasts are archived and where friends and fans can subscribe to updates when new segments are added. BlogTV was popularized in Israel and Canada and came stateside in May. Each country's site has around 60,000 unique visits per day, according to a company spokesman.

Video blogging, or vlogging, is gaining momentum across the Internet, and BlogTV has the right combination of ease of use and powerful features to make it a contender in this quickly emerging part of the Internet video market.

ClipBlast!

ClipBlast! is a search application and Web portal to help you find and navigate Internet video no matter where it is posted. The site has indexed video from more than 4,000 content providers ranging from independent video bloggers to top-tier media outlets, and claims to be the largest video search index on the Web.

The site does an excellent job finding many video basic key word searches, but like all the top video sites, including YouTube and AOL's Truveo, the best results will come with more human intervention to categorize and transcribe the video content. Still, ClipBlast! is in an excellent position to become the ultimate index of video content on the Web because it searches for content across many different sites, and not just its own.

FORA.tv

FORA.tv has found its niche as a video site dedicated to recorded speaking events from universities, think tanks, bookstores and other public locations and has signed distribution deals with high-profile organizations such as The Times of London.

While offering features traditionally seen on other video-sharing sites, such as ratings, widgets and download choices, FORA.tv provides additional features appropriate for a site that hosts long-duration, dialogue-intensive videos. Synchronized transcription, for example, allows viewers to text-search spoken content and go to the corresponding point in the video. Videos are also segmented into chapters that users can skip, watch, embed on a Web page, or forward to a friend.

Though FORA.tv may not be the stuff of mass audiences, the site does a very good job aggregating educational and cultural video difficult to find anywhere else on the Internet.

Chris Shipley is a leading technology and product analyst. As co-founder and chairman of market intelligence firm Guidewire Group, she analyzes emerging technology companies around the world to identify market opportunities and accelerate innovative products to market. As the executive producer and host of the DEMO Conferences for IDG Executive Forums and Network World, Shipley has helped technology companies launch more than 1,500 new products since 1996.

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