The latest entrant to the web 2.0 video service game is Lycos (It’s been a while since I’ve heard that name in the news, apparently they’re still around). The new service is called Lycos cinema, and it plans to go beyond what the other video services like Google Video, YouTube, DailyMotion and MetaCafe do.
Lycos plans to make this a platform for delivering full length movies and TV shows along with user-generated content. In addition, a chat functionality is also included, allowing viewers of the same video to talk to each other through multiple different rooms.
Personally, I don’t think this service really stands a chance. The first thing that comes to mind is the obvious issue of copyright infringement. YouTube is already having enough trouble with this as is, and they have a 10 minute limit on video uploads. On this service, users can upload full length movies, which is great, except for the small fact that users will upload full length movies they don’t own the copyright to. YouTube is limited to clips, and at worst, split TV shows.
Another issue that comes to mind with this is bandwidth. The average YouTube user spends about half an hour on the site on any given day they visit. Now, YouTube is not profitable; far from it. The only reason it can continue to survive is because Google was willing to take the losses. Now, if Cinema gets the same amount of visits as YouTube, one could estimate that there would be about an hour and a half per day for the average visit. Using some simple math, one could then deduce that Cinema would use triple the bandwidth and therefore have triple the operating costs of YouTube.
The third issue is that YouTube owns the market. Why would I want to use Cinema when the content is already on YouTube? (Aside from being easier to pirate content on, of course.) There’s simply no reason for the majority of users to switch. Chat? I came to watch videos, not to chat with random people.