Here's the best thing about sitting in this chair: People are always calling or emailing me to tell me about the (coolest/most game changing/hottest/biggest/fastest/smallest/sharpest) thing just coming out or new to the online video space. Netflix partnering with PlayStation 3? Heard about it. Google buying YouTube for $1.65 billion? Sure. Online ads becoming interactive? Yawn. Played with it (actually, it's a cool concept that we'll be revisiting).
There's a ton of news coming out of the online video industry daily; new services being launched, new products debuting, big money being made--and lost. Some of it has a Wow! factor that's pretty obvious (the Netflix/Sony deal probably rates one exclamation point, it's not a game changer, but it certainly takes Netflix to a new level). YouTube quietly acknowledging that it's seeing a billion video views a day is pretty neat, although I think almost everybody knew it was coming, but it was still a wow--at least I was stoked. A Wow! often seems to be a size thing. A billion of anything? Wow! Double your subscriber base? Yep. Wow.
But there's another factor we all see in this space nearly every day... call it the Ooo-Ooo Factor, as in, "Ooo! Ooo! I really want that."
iPhones, for example have OOF! They've proven to be Wows! as well. Pure Digital's Flip video cameras? They had enough OOF! to prompt me to buy one virtually as soon as they came out. They obviously also had some Wow! Cisco bought the company in March.
OOF! often is a visual thing. You want to see it, touch it, try it. Take, for example, Animoto, a video production site that allows users to upload photos, video and music, add a little type--if they want--and then push a button to create some decidedly wicked slideshows. I dropped some photos of my sons' college football team into the engine, added a Black Out remix of Ming + FS and Northern League pushed the "finalize" button and Viola; I posted it on my Facebook page. (Quote from youngest son: "How did you find that song?) A 30-second slideshow that looks more like a mini-MTV video than even the best "Ken Burns' effected" slideshows you put together on a Mac is free. Pay a couple of bucks, and you can have longer, or DVD-quality videos. Upgrading is very tempting. I had a ball playing on the site last week, and I scored big points with teammates of both of my sons; guys sent me kudos for my master skill set (thanks Animoto).
The folks at Animoto just announced a partnership with video- and photo-storage platform SmugMug, a pay-storage play that offers tiered options for everything from casual users to professional photographers and videographers. SmugMug has a bit of its own OOF!, but really picks up a little more polish with the partnership. The symbiotic relationship is an interesting mashup of two businesses with services that make good sense offered a la carte, but even better sense offered as a combo.
The online video world is just buzzing with good ideas--some of them are even making money. But there's a big difference between products that make you go "Wow!," and the ones that elicit an "Ooo-Ooo!" But hey, I'm such a rookie here they all have OOF! for me. What about you? Does the space still excite? Are you still playing with the gadgets? Let me hear about the services, products and software that spin your chair. Maybe we can create an OOF! list for Christmas that'll help make a couple of companies go Wow! Drop me a note.-Jim