BT on Wednesday officially launched BT Podshow -- a UK version of the US multimedia site. Ron Bloom, the co-founder of PodShow, claimed the site bridges the "chasm" between social-networking sites, such as YouTube or MySpace, and mainstream media networks, such as the BBC or ITV. He said it has done this by attracting professional video producers, without losing out on the community benefits of social-networking sites.
BT and PodShow's partnership in the UK will allow BT to "facilitate" the generation of user content, and will help PodShow get into people's homes, according to BT and PodShow. At present the UK version of the PodShow site displays no content (the companies say they are focusing on getting UK talent to contribute), but will eventually have a format similar to the US site, according to Bloom.
Crave welcomes the launch of PodShow, and more exciting video and audio content to feast our eyes and ears on. But we're not convinced by Bloom's claim that PodShow is dramatically different from YouTube, and are unsure how it will manage to compete with the market-leading video site.
Bloom highlighted the fact that independent producers, as well as ordinary users, upload their content to PodShow, implying that it was a more professionally focused site than YouTube. Admittedly, the production quality of the average PodShow video appears to be better than the average YouTube video, but the latter is already being used by thousands of commercial organisations, so is hardly for amateurs only.
The main way that PodShow appears to be different to YouTube is in the way it rewards video producers. Bloom said it has two types of rewards -- social rewards are similar to the ratings YouTubers give each other, however it has also signed contracts with some video producers, who can get upfront money or a share of advertising revenues for the content they produce.
We're excited to see what will happen with BT PodShow, especially as they're planning a big marketing campaign to encourage people to submit content to the site. But will manage to take off in the way that YouTube has?
While YouTube serves around 100 million videos per day, with 65,000 new clips uploaded daily, the US PodShow site is on a much smaller scale. Although Bloom did not reveal the number of visitors PodShow has attracted, he said it hosts one million videos. With less programs to chose from, finding the content you want is not easy. For example, a search for iPod videos on YouTube came up with 4,500, including Apple ads, spoof ads and people doing strange things with their iPod; a search for iPod on PodShow came up with only 30 videos, which were mostly news podcasts.
For anyone who is interested in the community side of things, it's unclear why they would upload their videos to PodShow rather than YouTube. While a top-rated video on YouTube, such as that made by British pensioner Peter, may be viewed millions of times, attract thousands of text comments and hundreds of video responses, we were unable to find many videos on PodShow that had more than 10 comments. Which makes Crave wonder whether BT PodShow will really bridge the chasm, or whether it will fall into it... -IM