Youtube the cable company, longtail and the rise of JWplayer

I’ve played with video online for a long time (more hours of code bashing than I care to think of or could remember!) and I’ve tried every combination of video player/platform etc. in developing web provision at work.  Just recently I’ve spent some time writing ‘widgets’ to get popular open source video player JWplayer in to our Escenic CMS. I’ve always been impressed by it and diving in to the code etc. just underlines that.

So it was nice to catch up with the news that, late(ish) last year, the makers of JWPlayer, Longtail video, secured $5million in venture funding. One of the investors,Ian Sigalow, blogged about the motivation for the investment reasoning that JWPlayer “will be the platform of choice for the next generation of online video sites, just as it was for YouTube when they first launched”

Given that JWplayer is perhaps best known as a free video player it’s not a surprise that some would question it’s capacity to go toe-to-toe with the big players. But as All things D reported:

CEO Dave Otten says he’s doing fine. He says LongTail is profitable and will come close to $10 million in revenue this year.

Ian’s post makes for some really interesting reading in terms of his view of where Youtube might be going…

Over time YouTube is becoming more like a cable operator, with dedicated content supported by the YouTube sales team.

… and his interpretation of video stats and the move away from big sites to the ‘longtail’ of smaller sites.

First off, while the long tail represents 58% of the video views, it represents nearly 70% of the time spent watching online video.  Facebook and Youtube have large audiences, but the average video on these sites is just over 3 minutes long.  In the long tail, the average view clocks in at 7.6 minutes, the longest duration of any market segment.  Second, the long tail is growing at a much faster rate than the rest of the market.  Viewership in the long tail is up over 33% since September 2011, compared to overall flat market growth according to Comscore.

The figures mirror some of the general engagement figures I’ve seen for tablets and socially shared content, so maybe Ian is not far wrong. The post is worth a read.

(h/t to Jonathan Dube at  CyberJournalist for the link to Ian’s post)

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