I got an email today from Yahoo saying they are ending their video service. I only have a few videos there because, from monitoring the hits, it wasn’t doing anything for my business (I’ve been on it for four years and only generated 1,000 or so views for the most popular video). That wasn’t a surprise because lots of sites including the successful Brightcove stopped soliciting and posting user-generated video years ago. Some sites went out of business entirely while Brightcove focused on subscription and other paid distribution services.
Minutes later I read that Yahoo is laying off 4% of its workforce. They’ve struggled for some time now against Google and other Internet megaservices, mostly because they can’t focus on what to be besides everything to everybody. In this case, eliminating video’s a good thing because there’s no way they’ll ever compete with YouTube (since they were bought by Google) and YouTube’s proved making money from viewers behaving badly is difficult if not impossible.
Is this another sign of a bubble bursting or is video proving to be more difficult to monetize than everyone, including Google, thought? With the Internet saturated with user-generated video (now known simply as UGC) and still no way for anyone to make any real money from it, it may be time for all those cat videos to be confined to one place so other sites can concentrate on something a bit more important: survival. Meanwhile, the trend toward more Hollywood and professionally-generated video grows which will hopefully mean improved quality, content, and maybe even more cash into some sites’ rapidly dwindling bank accounts.