The Second Wave Of Online Video

Bruce Wang
Feb 21, 2017 · 4 min read

Somewhere between 300 to 500 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. By 2020, if you decided to watch every single video that was uploaded in a one-month time frame, it would take you 5 million years. In the same year, Cisco predicts that around 75% of global mobile data traffic will come from video.

On the enterprise side of things, metro police stations can generate up to 10,000 (or more) hours of video a week. As the ability to capture useful data from video becomes more efficient, companies will move more and more to remote video monitoring for security and quality assurance. In fact, internet traffic generated from online video security monitoring doubled in 2015. Video is big, and it’s only going to get bigger.

With serious players like YouTube, Vimeo, BrightCove, and Kaltura, it’s easy to think there’s nothing left for video startups to do. But is there?

Second Mover Advantage

Before we answer that, let’s talk a little bit about first and second movers. The saying “the early bird gets the worm” may be true when it comes to breakfast for winged creatures, but in tech that’s not always the case. While first movers occasionally come out successful (i.e. Coca-Cola, the Sony Walkman, Hoover), more often second movers end up as the real winners.

First movers may have an advantage when it comes to grabbing an early piece of market share, securing patents, and making deals with key partners, but second movers can quickly learn from a predecessor’s mistakes and piggyback on their successes. When it comes to R&D and consumer education, first movers often bear the bulk of the initial expense, while second movers build on their work at much lower costs.

Take Google, for instance. Google was the 21st search engine by some counts and was founded a full 5 years after early search engines. Facebook followed Friendster and MySpace and quickly dominated the social media market. Then there was Apple’s iPhone which swiftly overturned Blackberry’s early successes in the smartphone industry.

In the video industry as it stands today, the dominant parties in early video like YouTube and Brightcove are now playing the role of first movers. They see a second wave of innovation coming and they’re making changes to adjust to the market’s new needs. But they’ve got their own first-wave-era business models working against them. There’s plenty of room for a second mover to take over and dominate the coming wave of innovation in the video industry.

Here Comes The Second Wave

Just like the confluence of events in 2005 through 2006 allowed for a storm of video innovation (smartphones, cloud computing and cheap bandwidth), we’re seeing another confluence now, a decade later. First, with the advent of companies like Twilio and Stripe, API solutions are on the rise throughout the tech world. Developers are now used to being able to integrate payment platforms, voice communications, location data, and site search into their projects with just a few lines of code.

Matt Murphy and Steve Sloane of TechCrunch say it well: “Developers realize that much of the functionality they need to build into an app is redundant to what many other companies are toiling over. They’ve learned not to expend precious resources on reinventing the wheel but instead to rely on APIs from the larger platforms, such as Salesforce, Amazon and, more recently, specialized developers.”

When it comes to video, however, developers’ choices are limited. While the big players in video do offer some options in the way of APIs, they aren’t prepared for this second wave. Their business were built in a different era and aren’t designed for today’s needs when it comes to usability and pricing.

Second, there’s a huge volume of content being produced. Users and enterprises alike are creating thousands upon thousands of hours of video. Police body cams, security and equipment monitoring cameras, and insurance company claims departments all generate huge volumes of video data, and companies need efficient ways to analyze, store, and manipulate that data.

Finally, with artificial intelligence, we can now get deeper insight into the data contained in video. First wave companies weren’t able to drill down into that data. You could get transcription at the time, but we didn’t have the capabilities to offer image recognition, voice recognition, and the like — the kind of intelligence that’s all the rage in every other part of tech. Deep learning integrated with video can help an insurance company’s claims department resolve claims faster, give companies that use remote video monitoring the ability to efficiently escalate security or quality assurance concerns, and allow police departments to quickly analyze videos of incidents.

Video Is Not Done

While the first wave of online video focused on entertainment and education, the second wave is going to be all about video as a service, flexibility and deep learning. The new technology, more demand, and a new business model mean the industry is ripe for disruption. Video is far from over. In fact, I think we’re just at the beginning.

Originally published at


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Bruce Wang

Written by

Sr Dir of Eng @ Shippo, Co-founder, CTO at Large, foodie, techie, and startup advisor living and working in SF



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