The future of online video

Ever since Google paid $1.65bn for YouTube in October 2006, video-sharing sites have sprung up all over the web. But YouTube was not the first to set the online video craze rolling; among those video sites that are not YouTube, Metacafe has a good claim to be the pioneer in the field.

Cisco Systems made its own detailed projections in August of 2007. In “The Exabyte Era,” Cisco stated that “YouTube is just the beginning. Online video will experience three waves of growth.”

The first wave is driven by YouTube and similar applications, which Cisco generalizes as Internet Video-to-PC.
By mid-2007, YouTube was streaming around 50 petabytes per month, or 600 petabytes (PB) per year. This was approximately ~7% of all U.S. Internet traffic. For another reference point, consider that all original broadcast and cable TV and radio content totals around 75 PB per year. YouTube streams that much data in 1.5 months. A Hi-Def YouTube would mean 12 exabytes per year, or almost as large as the entire U.S. Internet in 2007.

The second wave is Internet Video-to-TV. Cisco believes this category, which includes IPTV (Joost, Hulu f.i.), will overtake the first wave in traffic volume by 2009.
Joost, led by former top Cisco executive Mike Volpi, and a number of similar services offer free, advertising-based TV over the Net. The networks have also begun parallel strategies focusing on the Internet: NBC, for example, streamed 50 million of its shows over the Net in October 2007. NBC Universal and News Corp. launched Hulu, a premium online video site that combines their considerable TV and film resources

The third (and potentially largest) wave is Internet Video Communication, or video calling and conferencing.
By mid-2007, MSN Video Messenger was already generating 4 PB per month, or as much as the entire Internet in 1997. A move to video-phones would mean 300 exabytes—at least—or 30x the size of the existing U.S. Internet.
In coming years, we can easily imagine high-definition always-on “Virtual Windows” that open permanent visual portals across the globe.

My opinion is that Video content might be the king, but the telcos and cable companies will reign supreme in controlling the future of online video.

Extract from "Estimating the Exaflood - The Impact of Video and Rich Media on the Internet – A ‘zettabyte’ by 2015? "