The Wild West of Video

One of the articles in my VentureWire e-mail newsletter this morning mentioned that the video space is “so hot” right now. Not to be out-done, another quote in a different article in the same newsletter referred to it as “white hot.”

There’s no question that the basic premises – the who, what, where, when, and how – of consumers’ interaction with video content is dramatically changing, and that’s getting people excited.

David Katz, who oversees sports and entertainment for the Yahoo Media Group, at a NATPE 2006 panel said yesterday (via paidContent.org),

“…[W]hat’s the definition of television. … If we’re going to narrowly define television as the content created by broadcast networks and cable networks that comes in on the big screen in your living room, that’s one thing … If television is more broadly defined going forward as that video entertainment experience really consumed in the home or potentially on portable devices or your cell phones… you’re talking about an unlimited universe, you’re talking about a place where content can come from anywhere, everyone’s a distributor if they want to be, user generated content allows the proliferation of content and breaks down barriers that existed before.”

The vision which David lays out is one which I believe is becoming consensus for those in the space (at least those “new” media types). The issue at hand is rather how we get there. While all promising markets have their incumbent players and constituents, this one is especially fertile ground for (often rival sets of) established companies along the value chain – from cable companies, to broadcast networks, to the content producers, to device manufacturers, to mobile carriers, etc., etc.; the list goes on for quite a while. This environment makes it especially perilous, but also ripe, for start-ups as well. This month’s acquisition of Truveo by AOL is just one signal of more to come. A quick search reveals that more than a handful of people have called 2006 the “Year of Video” (see here, here, here, and here to name a few). I don’t disagree. My question is – how will this movie play out?

David Beisel

David Beisel is a co-founder and Partner at NextView Ventures. He has been focused on early stage Internet startups his entire career, both as an entrepreneur and venture capitalist. As an investor in the digital media space, David was most recently a Vice President at Venrock and previously a Principal at Masthead Venture Partners. Prior to becoming a venture capitalist, David co-founded Sombasa Media, an e-mail marketing company best known for its flagship product BargainDog. Sombasa was successfully acquired by About.com where David served as Vice President of Marketing. David holds an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and an AB in Economics, magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, from Duke University. He also founded and leads the Boston Innovators Group, an organization which holds quarterly entrepreneur events drawing a thousand attendees.

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