YouTube Isn’t the Center of the Video Universe

Carefully and deliberately over the past two years, Clipblast! has laid the foundation for a cross-Internet video distribution platform. First order, Clipbast! indexed video across the Web, aggregating video content no matter where it lives. Then, at DEMOfall 07, the company introduced its API and widget strategy that enabled other sites to easily incorporate Clipbast! indexes.

On both counts, Clipblast! has gained momentum in the market and today indexes some 1 million video clips each day.

Now, Clipblast! lays the keystone in the strategy with the introduction this week of Clipblast! Playbox. Playbox is, in effect, a universal content distribution platform that enables any video to be played from any site on any site. It’s best to think of Playbox as a conduit to video content, encapsulating an array of video players so that users can view video even if they’ve not downloaded a specific media player. The video itself, along with pre-, mid-, and post-roll advertisements and overlays are unchanged, allowing the originating video site to capture ad revenues as well as traffic data.

Clipblast! is working with content providers to enable them to the Playbox video distribution platform in their sites.

Clipblast! is a great example of the next phase of the Web (let’s not call it Web 3.0?) that is not so much about aggregating content and traffic as it is about distributing it. In this next wave, content providers needn’t build destination sites but will embrace syndication models that enable them to put their content in front of millions of users at thousands of sites across the Web.

This is a tough model for a lot of publishers to get their heads around in ad-based models, where audience is everything and the one who owns the platform reaps the ad revenue. Now, though, with the ability to target and embed ad messaging into content – as pre-, mid-, and post-roll video, for example, or within content widgets – the game is about taking content to the traffic, not attracting traffic to the content.

The idea is catching on slowly; I’m seeing a few massive content distribution/syndication models every week. In one instance, the company hasn’t even bothered to build its own consumer-facing Web site; it just wants to get its content onto everyone else’s sites. Makes for a massively scalable model.

In the future, sites like YouTube won’t be the center of the universe not because they’ve been displaced by other competitors, but because new competitors prove that the universe really has no center.

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