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Thursday, April 19, 2007

YouTVpc: Watch TV and Movies Online

It isn't everyday that a free TV and movies site makes the front page of the Wall Street Journal, but YouTVpc became the focus of a story that explored the world of guerrilla video websites. The facts we were struck by are that YouTVpc hosts links to hundreds of episodes of shows like Heroes, Grey's Anatomy, Lost, and 24 alongside dozens of games and movies. These can all be accessed easily through a sidebar that lists the shows in alphabetical order.

We also get a glimpse into the business model of online video gateways. They operate as aggregators of links to video content hosted by sites like YouTube, Dailymotion, and the more obscure China-based Ouou.com. Since they don't directly host and stream videos, they save a lot on bandwidth costs, which amounted to a paltry $1000 a month for YouTVpc, based on an average of 16,000 users a day. This model also shields them somewhat from legal trouble.

Most of all, we learn how easy it is to topple the monopoly of the big media players on content distribution. With an average of 500,000 unique visitors a month, YouTVpc spends a grand total of 0.2 cents to service each user (yes, that's a decimal point). How can any business with enormous fixed costs compete with that? Of course, someone's left holding the bag: the fledgling online video sharing sites for one. It's like hotlinking images on a massive scale (a generally frowned-upon activity), which these video sites actually encourage via embedding.Tags: , , , ,


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