Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Top Ten Video Sharing Websites

Among other things, 2006 will be remembered as the year online video really became something you share, not just something you log onto and watch.

Sure, there will always be a place for viral videos that get emailed to dozens of friends and coworkers. I mean, who ever gets tired of watching a cat flush a toilet or seeing a skateboarder render himself infertile?

But the sheer volume of video sharing sites that have come online in the past 18 months suggests that the online video trend won't be confined to something people do to entertain themselves on a coffee break. To wit, hundreds of thousands of consumers are beginning to share video online, and that's having a profound impact on how much bandwidth is consumed and how broadband providers make money.

"HDTV, next-generation gaming, personal video, and digital photography will all contribute to the emergence of a new broadband gold standard of 100 Mbit/s symmetric over the next 12 to 24 months," writes Heavy Reading senior analyst Graham Finnie in his latest report on the fiber-to-the-home market. (See FTTH Hits Mainstream.)

Video sharing: the viral spiral
Bandwidth consumption isn't the only byproduct of the increase in video sharing. Content distribution networks are beefing up, and the companies in that space are thriving as Web-based services make it easy to exchange larger and larger files. (See CacheLogic Builds P2P Content Network and Video Caching Steps Into the Limelight.) Also, service providers like AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T - message board) are pairing up with Internet TV companies like Akimbo Systems to make sure they can deliver, not just regular TV channels, but some consumer-generated content as well. (See AT&T, Cisco Elbow Into Akimbo and Will Telcos Want Their Dave.tv?)

Content makers and advertisers are seeking out online video sites as a way to reach younger demographics. (See Google Pushes MTV Video.) Even Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT - message board) says it won't be left out. "MSN is currently developing a user-generated/user-submitted video solution that will launch this year," a spokeswoman for Microsoft says. "The solution will integrate with Windows Live Spaces and across MSN.com. Stay tuned!

The Top Ten
With all that going on, it's definitely worth looking at who stands out in this ridiculously crowded space. Since popular opinion does matter online – where the consumer experience is hugely important – we thought it'd be useful to rank some of the Internet's most popular video sharing sites by how they performed from the point of view of someone wanting to post videos rather than just look at someone else's.

Without further ado, here's our list of the Top Ten Video Sharing Sites

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