Everyone from MySpace to Yahoo to NBC-Fox has YouTube in their sites these days. MySpace, which helped popularize YouTube in the early days, tomorrow is expected to launch MySpaceTV, a separate video-sharing site that will highlight licensed videos snippets from major media companies along with audience-uploaded clips. NBC and Fox are working on their own destination video site that will lean more towards professionally-produced video. And so is Yahoo (which, like MySpace, has a deal with NBC-Fox to show their videos).
Mike Folgner, the founder of video-editing site Jumpcut which Yahoo (YHOO) bought last year, is now the head of Yahoo Video. When he visited me earlier this week, he told me:
What we are working on is the deep video experience. Yahoo has so much video content. What we need to do is surface that content in a central way. We are working on that central destination. It will be at Yahoo Video by the end of the year.
Yahoo and MySpace are battling it out for No. 2 behind YouTube. MySpace has more viewers, but Yahoo actually streams more videos. Along with NBC and Fox, they all seem to be ganging up on YouTube. (Watch this Disruptors video to see some of the tensions surfacing). Folgner is also concentrating on improving video search across the Web and bringing up relevant videos depending on what part of Yahoo people happen to be on (news videos in Yahoo News, sports videos in Yahoo Sports, music videos in Yahoo Music, etc.).
As he tries to turn Yahoo Video into more of a destination site in its own right, he plans on adding some social networking elements, such as shared playlists and the ability to remix mainstream video clips (using, you guessed it, Jumpcut's Web-based video editor). He says the rights issues still have to be hammered out, however. So don't hold your breath on that one.
On the ad front, you can expect MySpace and Yahoo to be a lot more aggressive than YouTube in terms of what kinds of ads they will be willing to show. Says Folgner:
My team is looking at advanced ad formats. We are going to release some new ad formats by the end of the year, including some interesting in-stream ones where there is graphical and animated overlay over the video. We'll also have things that can stop the video and the screen will roll up to show a clickable ad.
What about using speech-to-text translation to transcribe all the videos and use the index to place ads against relevant key words, like Blinkx is doing with AdHoc? "We are looking into that," says Folgner.
It makes you wonder whether Google (GOOG) is similarly looking into AdSense for YouTube.