There is a big cultural gap between Internet, particularly search engines that rely on text, and video communities. There is an article (Thanks, Rajesh) in Advertising Age that talks about Comcast having ambitions to become another Yahoo, or better, in online media. It gives good numbers to say why that could happen.
John Battelle talks about this in his blog and expresses his skepticism
But…I’m not optimistic that Comcast understands the genetics of making an online service. Just my two cents…
I believe that Internet people (including Yahoo) don’t understand video as well as Comcast does and by the same token, Comcast does not understand Internet as well as Yahoo and Google do. However, technology advances have brought us to the stage that the two are going to converge and will be one. The convergence even on STB is bringing these two to the same platform and that is the opportunity as well as the challenge.
There is clearly a big ‘media gap’ out there, however. Video people don’t understand text (Internet is less aproblem, text is the real reason) and text people don’t understand video. Who will rise to the challenge and benefit from their current situation — Yahoo, Comcast, or … – remains to be seen. Chance for budding entrepreneurs. No, I doubt that YouTube will do it. But who can say that confidently — not me.
For what my own two cents are worth, I agree. I do not think that, as John Battele suggests, the online service part of the equation is going to be a problem for Comcast. There are many large scale successful online services besides Google that seem to be doing just fine, and I donâ€™t think it is outside of Comcastâ€™s reach to develop one of their own.
I think that the challenge, rather, is that no one seems to know how to interpret video computationally in order to make it accessible without resorting to handcrafted textual metadata in some form. Not Google, not Youtube, not Yahoo, and probably not Comcast. Thatâ€™s a severe limitation because while we all want to be able to access video, we donâ€™t want to spend the time handcrafting it to be accessible. Itâ€™s kind of a chore. So, as I think you suggest, whatever company can conquer the accessible-ization of video will probably go far.