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Microsoft Takes Aim at Web Video with Silverlight

According to a blog post at CNET, Microsoft’s “cross-browser, cross-platform plug-in for delivering the next generation of .NET based media experiences” also known as Silverlight is set to be released this week.

Silverlight is designed to be a competitive offering to multi-media development tools and plug-ins like Flash. Flash has been the development tool of choice for web based video publishers, and Microsoft would like to usurp Adobe’s dominance in this space.

Martin LaMonica with CNET states “Silverlight videos embedded within a Web page can be resized and have higher fidelity than Flash videos, according to Microsoft.”

Building a better mouse trap may be a good strategy for Microsoft; however, replacing a long time standard like Flash may prove difficult in the long run.

Online Videos Go Viral as Study Shows 57% Share their Favorites

If you have plans for any kind of viral marketing campaign in 2007, you may wish to take a look at the numbers revealed by a new Pew study.

57% of internet users watch video online and of that number 57% send their favorite videos on to their friends. They must be sending them to more than one person, judging by the 75% that said they receive videos from others. If your video appeals to the 18-29 age group, you can expect that video sharing rate to jump to 67%.

But before you grab your video camera and round up the staff, you may want to consider some investment into video production. 62% of online video watchers prefer content that is “professionally produced” and only 19% prefer videos “produced by amateurs.” Can’t be bothered to hire a production crew? Target the male 18-29 demo – only 43% of them prefer professional video.

Ustream Adds New Features to Live Video Service

Ustream has announced a series of upgrades to their live video streaming service, making it even more interactive with viewers.

Here’s what they’ve added:

The Shout Meter:

Every time you click, you boost both your personal shout volume for the show (how interested you are), as well as the overall roar of the crowd. Both measures of shout volume are dynamic–as soon as you stop clicking, both your personal shout volume and the roar of the crowd start to fade. This lets Ustream measure the second-by-second excitement level of each show, and highlight the most exciting shows by featuring them on the homepage and program guide.

Live Polls:

The new Ustream will also let our broadcasters find out how their audience feels with our new Live Polls. At any time during your broadcast, you can go to the Broadcaster Console and set up an Live Poll just by clicking Poll and filling out the form.

Personal Links:

Add links to your Facebook or MySpace profiles. You can even add a link to a PayPal “tip jar.”

Past Clips:

Want viewers to be able to watch your old clips? Now, with the Past Clips module,viewers can page through your old clips without ever leaving your show page. Better make sure you’ve checked what’s in those archives!

Look for these on next Tuesday’s broadcast of Marketing Pilgrim Live!

Can Online Video Advertising Really Reach $4.3B by 2011?

eMarketer is predicting a huge surge in online video advertising spending over the next four years, with this year’s $775 million growing to $4.3 billion by 2011. While the number sounds impressive, it will account for just 10% of all internet advertising and will be a fraction of the $46.3 billion spent on TV advertising by 2011.

Business Week explains why online video ads will grow so easily.

It’s after 2011 that the floodgates will really open, says eMarketer senior analyst David Hallerman. By then, the distinction between television and Web video will be so blurred that advertisers will begin directing more of their marketing budgets to the online version. “All you have to do is take a few percentages off of a TV advertiser’s typical budget and that is going to be a large amount of money,” says Hallerman.

Sony Re-launches Grouper as Online Video Incubator

Sony Pictures Entertainment has decided that its $65 million investment in video site Grouper shouldn’t be wasted on a futile attempt to compete with YouTube. Instead, the company has re-named the site Crackle and will use it to fund short online videos by aspiring filmmakers, according to the NYT.

Realizing that user-generated video doesn’t attract big-spending advertisers, Sony decided to provide cash payments to some video produces – ranging from a few thousand to more than $10k per video.

Joost’s Not Yet Out of Beta, But Already Facing "Joost Killers"

Wow, it’s official, Joost is over-hyped!

The company hasn’t left beta, has barely opened-up use to the public and already we’re seeing stories claiming to have found the “Joost Killer”. In this case, Ars Technica is reporting on Microsoft’s joint effort with UK company Skinkers to build LiveStation – which allows PC users to watch live television streams on their computer screen.

…the Microsoft Research team has created a way to stream live television over a peer-to-peer network and use Silverlight to display multimedia content on the client’s system. “This product allows you to steam live television on a computer over a peer-to-peer network, which means you don’t need to use all the traditional server infrastructure and bandwidth associated with streaming,” said Matteo Berlucchi, co-founder of Skinkers.

The BBC Questions Its Own Use of Online Video

Now here’s something refreshing. The BBC is evaluating its liberal use of online videos to ensure that it’s able to provide quality content that adds to news stories. Pete Clifton, head of BBC News Interactive, told a London conference audience that simply uploading lots of news video clips without context, will lead to less people watching online videos.

His team conducted a trial to evaluate their use of news videos. They discovered that video should be used to compliment a story, not replace it. Likewise, stand alone videos had much less appeal than those embedded alongside written stories.