Wednesday, November 08, 2006

YouTube, MySpace: Not So Fast

What follows is my first venture into unfamiliar territory. If you think I'm wrong, odds are, you're right.

The wholesale takedown of Japanese proprietary content (largely anime, but plenty of variety show and drama clips) was the one negative piece of news that cast a shadow on the YouTube purchase by Google. Less noticed is the huge drop off in sports, talk show and other non-Japanese content. Today, as I write, the most-viewed list consists mostly of more or less the same clip of Faith Hill losing out as CMA top female vocalist. You wonder how the volume of hits on the popular site is faring these days.

I'm guessing, based on casual observation, that at least some of those eyeballs have shifted to smaller, less patrolled sites. We'll see what happens in this cat-and-mouse game, but Google must be worried. Only so many people will want to watch Lonely Girl 15.

MySpace comes to Japan. I read somewhere that the MySpace demographics has shifted dramatically upwards in the last year or so, leading some to speculate that it is turning into a place where older men… well, you get the idea. So maybe it's time they marketed the brand before it became so yesterday.

They'll be coming up against a lot of local competition though. Japanese networks are reportedly much smaller, but they got there first, and that counts for a lot. (Ebay Japan got clobbered by a far more primitive Yahoo auction.) A telling scene from the BBC studio in New York, where a geeky but glib commentator tried to show some enthusiasm for the launch: The commentator told his story of how he listed himself on MySpace and the first profile he came across listed Jack Johnson as favorite musician. He thought that was fascinating; I think it means that MySpace has a long, long way to go before it can claim to have made a dent in the Japanese networking market.

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