-- There's a new video star — and it's you.
The meteoric rise of camera-equipped smartphones has popularized personal videos. And several new companies are rushing to develop mobile apps to help consumers capture, edit and share those videos across Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Think of it as serving the YouTube 2.0 generation. Not only are many users now capturing video over mobile, they are transmitting over mobile and adding the social-media aspect, too, notes Scott Ellison, analyst at research firm IDC.
Klip, Vlix, Socialcam, Tout, BlipSnips, Vibop and Viddy are among the start-ups developing free mobile video apps. And Silicon Valley investors are betting on the mobile video-sharing craze. But paths to future profitability vary.
Some start-ups are banking on users' willingness to pay extra for premium services. Vlix, for example, eventually wants to provide premium editing effects for an added cost. Another possible revenue model for mobile upstarts is to sell in-app advertising to marketers eager to reach their video-watching audience.
Online video advertising is forecast to grow 52% to $2.16 billion in the United States for 2011, according to eMarketer. Industry analysts say the rise in adoption of video ads by advertisers is driven in part by the ability to better target and measure the impact of the advertisements vs. those on TV.
"If you look anywhere, everyone is holding up a smartphone," says Alain Rossmann, founder of mobile video upstart Klip. "We are probably the world's easiest way to (post to) YouTube." Klip recently picked up $8 million in funding.
But the data demands of video on taxed mobile networks raise concerns, Ellison cautioned.
"The challenges will be the network and bandwidth restraints. Nothing is more frustrating than waiting for video to download too slowly or breaking midway," he says.
It will be necessary for fans of video to use Wi-Fi to avoid running into traffic jams on carrier networks and maxing out their data plans, he warns. Start-ups are trying to slim down the amount of data distributed and the bandwidth needed.