Hard Cheese

One of the greatest challenges for online video sites is to encourage users to participate. A study from last year shows that only one in six hundred YouTube viewers contribute video – and many of them simply upload existing content from TVs, DVDs or the web.

A couple of years ago I met with the head of the digital camera division at Sony electronics and, even on the back of the trouncing the company was talking from Apple’s iPod at the time, he brazenly said that people would only ever want to watch home videos on tape on their telly.

This goes down with the prediction that “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” by Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM in 1943. (for fun, here are some other predictions that were somewhat off the mark).

The manufacturers of hardware are, not surprisingly, obsessed with hardware features such as hard drives and HiDef, but their neglect of software and services not only looses them a potential ongoing income stream, but also makes it more difficult for an ordinary person to contribute to user generated video sites.

Perhaps Google will simplify this as they move into hand held devices and wireless networks ?