4 video-blogging services give YouTube+

YouTube has become the de facto destination for online video, but the evolution of social media means there’s emerging services which may be worth experimenting with, particularly if you or your business happens to be chasing a younger demographic—and all of them prove there’s life after Instagram.

Services like Pheed, Keek, Vine and other contenders are all pursuing slightly different models that may supplement your YouTube activity.

Introducing Pheed

Described by Forbes as “Twitter with a business model”, Pheed is catching on among younger users seeking an easy to monetize alternative to YouTube. Illustrating its popularity, the Pheed app was top of the iTunes Store charts in February, above YouTube, Twitter and Facebook.

Speaking to the Evening Standard, digital marketing manager at Totally Communications, Jason Gotto, reflects: “Consumers are tired of traditional forms of social media.” He points out that Pheed has become popular among 14-25-year-olds. This makes the service attractive to musicians aiming at that demographic: Miley Cyrus got 10,000 hits on Pheed within half a second for a video of her singing.

“Show me the money” is a constant refrain in digital. Unlike YouTube, Pheed lets users set up a paywall for their own content and allows them to set the price (between £1.30 and £20 per view) for access to the content they upload. (Pheed takes a cut).

The service isn’t confined to video: users can also share text, images, audio clips and voice notes. They can also like or dislike pheeds and share content from other users. There’s a lot of interest in the service which is beginning to attract attention from business users.

Kickin’ with Keek

Social media attention is fragmentary. Keek attempts to climb aboard this transcience by offering a service that allows users to publish extremely short (up to 36-second) personal video clips. Keek’s not a silo—you can instantly share your updates via email, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and text message—not only this but you can respond to other people’s posts with your own short video clips.

Keek’s ambition seems to be one in which it becomes “the Twitter of video”—it is already fairly popular, claiming 15 million unique visits, 75 million visitors, 1 billion page views and four million user-generated videos in January. It’s now attracting 200,000 new users each month.

Keek CEO Isaac Raichyk notes: “Twitter convinced the world to embrace a micro-blogging format and Instagram demonstrated that a photo sharing social network could thrive. With 200,000 new users joining daily and millions of user-generated videos posted monthly, Keek is doing the same for social video.”

Talking to the difference between Keek and YouTube, Raichyk has previously said: “We see video as a communications tool to speak to your friends using video,” he said. “It is not about entertaining or video productions. If you like to create musical productions, you can use YouTube. Keek is a more personal, authentic dialogue.”

Keek’s users include Kim Kardashian, Kendall Jenner, Adam Lambert, Kylie Jenner, 2 Chainz, Khloe Kardashian and Victoria Justice. As of July, 2012, 85% of the Keek community was between the ages of 13-25, with 69% female engagement, and two-thirds of those users were active during that month.

Hanging Vine

With all the video microblogging services attempting to become the new Twitter for video, it’s surely not too surprising that Twitter has launched its own Twitter for video, called Vine.

The service captured some attention when a Turkish journalist used Vine to capture what happened immediately after a suicide bombing outside the US embassy earlier this year.

These clips have a maximum duration of six seconds and can be shared with social networking services Twitter (sic), Facebook and “more coming soon”. You capture these clips via your smartphone, though somewhat annoyingly you must tap your smartphone’s screen to keep filming.

Twitter is ubiquitous, so there’s lots of interest in Vine, which has already spawned a 6-second short movie contest at the Tribeca Film Festival next month. Like short Japanese poems called Haiku, these films must have a beginning, middle and an end, or, as Tribeca explains:

“Creating unique characters, worlds, and plots for your Vine will give you an advantage. Embracing the Vinely qualities of looping, time manipulation, etc. will give you even more of one.”

Vine has already attracted animators eager to experiment with the technology in order to create short clips.

Vine has potential, if only because Twitter is already extremely popular with over 200 million active users and the video sharing service’s integration with the social network means it will inevitably emerge as a way to create short viral clips.

Viddy video

Among the vanguard of micro video-sharing services, Viddy users can share their clips via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+.

It’s a little more advanced, for example the latest iteration of its app allows users to capture clips (up to 30-seconds long) on their smartphone, making use of 15 new video filters and eight musical backing tracks (including one from Snoop Dogg). Users can also crop and trim clips and change the fps.

The service’s advanced features seem to be becoming its weakness. Its users tend to attempt to make their own amateur movies, leading to a strange phenomenon, as one comment on The Verge notes:

“I’ve tried Viddy and the issue I had with the product was that it placed way to much emphasis on building the perfect clip (filters, 15 seconds, and music). Every time I went to shoot something on Viddy I just found myself never posting it because I was unhappy with the quality (I basically overcomplicated it nearly every time).

“I like Vine cause it takes me only a moment to shoot a messy fun clip. If its kind of crap then I don’t care as it only took me a few seconds to shoot and upload.”

This clearly suggests that success using micro-video-blogging sites demands a sense of spontaneity and a philosophy of content being utterly disposable. If you want to create more important slices of content, you’ll be more likely to distribute this via YouTube or Vimeo. Viddy CEO and co-founder, Brett O’Brien, left the company last month.

A social media gold rush?

This is clearly a buoyant sector with a series of other existing services vying for attention, including Klip, Tout, Cinemagram and SocialCam, each of which seems to offer a slightly different slant for their service. Of these four, Tout appears the most well-equipped for use as a B2C solution and is already in use by big names such as WWE.

Which of these services will emerge to be as essential as Twitter or Facebook to company’s and individuals hoping to use video microblogging services within their digital marketing mix? That’s kind of hard to say, and it’s also pretty clear the most successful short clips will require some different skills than those you may need to create a successful viral YouTube video.

One thing’s clear: Video is important because, according to Cisco, video it will account for 90% of all consumer Internet traffic and 64% of mobile Internet traffic by 2014.

That’s a big appetite to feed, which means provision of engaging video content represents an increasingly big opportunity for brand creation, product marketing and engagement for individuals and industry alike.

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