Social Networking

MySpace Puts YouTube in Crosshairs With Video Relaunch

YouTube may be the dominant player in the video-sharing arena today, but MySpace is stepping up its own bid to compete in that realm as it relaunches and renames the video portion of its social networking site.

MySpaceTV, as the company renamed it Thursday from MySpace Video, is available to all Internet users, whether they have MySpace accounts or not, and has been localized in 15 international versions. It is the first spinoff from the company that doesn’t require registration on the main site.

“This is the tip of the iceberg,” said Chris DeWolfe, CEO of MySpace. “The incredible video growth trajectory we’re seeing is a testament to the unique content and high user engagement in all corners of the MySpace community. In the last year we’ve added nearly 20 million unique users in the U.S. alone and continue to see incredible growth around the world.”

Professional Content

In addition to user-generated content, which is the bread and butter of YouTube’s offerings, MySpaceTV will include professionally generated videos.

MySpace has already announced deals with a variety of content partners for branded channels that will appear on MySpaceTV, such as National Geographic, The New York Times, Reuters, and lifestyle outlets including Animation Show, The Daily Reel, Expert Village, Flow, Fox’s IGN Entertainment, Kush TV, LX.TV, Octane TV, Ripe TV, Studio411 and Young Hollywood.

MySpace’s relaunch comes just a day after the release of figures indicating that YouTube is far and away the dominant address in the video-sharing market. Indeed, as of May, YouTube’s market share was 50 percent greater than that of the next 64 competing sites combined, according to a Wednesday report from Hitwise.

Video Growth

Not only that, but YouTube is growing at an accelerated rate: The market share of U.S. visits to YouTube (not streams) has increased by 70 percent between January and May, compared with an increase of only 8 percent for the next 64 competing sites, according to Hitwise.

MySpace is also growing in the video arena: Its total number of video streams has leaped by 100 percent and the site has added 15 million unique streamers since January, according to comScore Media Metrix. Thirty-eight percent of people streaming video on the Internet are doing so on MySpace, comScore said.

“When you see us going from 332 million to 648 million videos per month, you know something big is happening,” said Tom Anderson, cofounder and president of MySpace. “We’re going to be rolling out innovative video products and features in the coming months to further empower our users.”

MySpace continues to dominate the social networking space, with 110 million global active users in May — more than three times the size of the next largest competitor, according to comScore.

Relaunch Goals

Given the presence of a clearly dominant player in the market, MySpace’s decision to relaunch the existing video-sharing portion of its site may make a lot of sense.

“It’s not a bad idea, because YouTube is clearly picking up most of the market right now,” Rob Enderle, president and principal analyst with the Enderle Group, told TechNewsWorld.

“The reason you go through a relaunch is to get people to think of you as a new and trendy offering, and to get a following you might not have had otherwise,” Enderle explained.

In the collaborative space, the MySpace brand has a strength comparable to what the YouTube brand holds in the video-sharing space, so it hopes to extend its influence, he added.

“MySpace has a similar cachet to what YouTube has,” Enderle concluded. “They need to trade one off against the other.”

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