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Saturday, December 02, 2006

Attack of the clones- India gets youtubed

The acquisition of video sharing platform, youtube.com, by Google for $1.65 billion, suddenly turned everybody’s attention to the possibility that even in India people could make and share videos. Soon Indian clones of youtube.com like meravideo.com and apnatube.com started mushrooming on the internet. Then, meravideo.com’s creator, Kanwaldeep Kalsi, announced that various parties were willing to finance him $1.5 million for the growth of his site. Video sharing had arrived in India.

But true video sharing is still only a possibility of the future. With the low broadband penetration and slow internet speeds in India, the average downloading speed is around 30kbps and uploading speed is only 15kbps, as a result, an average sized video takes about an hour upload. This may change, as Kiruba Shankar, an eminent blogger, says “2007 has been declared the ‘year of broadband’ by the Communication Ministry, if broadband speeds improve and costs fall, then true video sharing may become possible”.

Even now meravideo.com is awash with copy-written content, the same sort of content that landed the ‘original’ youtube.com in a sea of lawsuits. The USP of meravideo.com-- user generated content-- is clearly not working. But as Shankar says “If copy-written content is removed, the site will have very little content left. It will get a blind eye from the consumers”. Though Kalsi says that the content is filtered, the content can only be filtered when new material is uploaded, so it’s not surprising that the most shared video on meravideo.com is a semi-pornographic clip.

The idea that a serious amateur film maker would put his movie on an India centric site is absurd, as such site would cater to a limited audience whereas a youtube.com would provide a wider audience. “Such a site can only be used when either you want India specific content or content in a regional language” adds Shankar.

Yet venture capitalists are willing to invest in video sharing platforms, because they provide a very efficient method of advertising. For a fraction of a cost, advertisers will be able to insert a short promotional film at the end of the user generated video on meravideo.com. Also like youtube.com, people expect that Indian movie houses will soon start advertising on these sites and may eventually buy content from them. Following the trajectory of earlier video sharing sites, meratube.com could evolve into a site where people can watch non mainstream, niche movies.

As Shanker says, “Video is the way to go, it is more colourful, it does not have the limitations of audio or printed text”. People also view video sharing as a natural evolution of expression on the internet. “first came text blogging, then audio podcasts, video is next” he adds.

The thought of video creation and sharing does open new avenues of interaction and, if possible, alternative revenue generation methods for budding movie makers, but till bandwidths and internet speed in India improve, the attack of the clones will barely raise an alarm.
Link: see the clone
Link: Kiruba Shankar

2 comments:

Naresh said...

Check out AapkaVideo, the latest entrant to the online video storage and sharing space. AapkaVideo allows you to watch, upload and share videos with others. AapkaVideo is a totally free online service that allows you to watch and share videos free with others.

AapkaVideo is aimed at the average Indian, who just wants to post videos created by himself or his favorite videos on the expanding online video world and share them with friends and family. To upload videos, users have to register a free account with the service and immediately start uploading videos. The experience is seamless and the streaming quality is fast and much better than others. AapkaVideo displays the number of times each video has been viewed by users.

It's easy to use and the user interface is attractive because of its simplicity. It’s very simple to share videos with others. Create a link and email it to others, who can then click on the link to watch the video. Videos load and play faster than any other sites I’ve checked. You can also share multiple videos at a time. You can easily browse through the categories available for watching videos and also upload videos to a particular category you want.

AapkaVideo allows users to report videos that are offensive, obscene and illegal. Besides removing the video from the site, the account of the user who uploaded the video will be immediately terminated.

Rohan Pinto said...

kiruba is bang on the $. here's yet another entrant. (it's my own) KONKAN TV. Do check it out. I'd appreciate your thoughts on it.

I'm not gonna use this space to market my own creation, So please do check out KONKAN TV and provide me some feedback / your comments on it.