February 24, 2007
Fora.tv Provides Another Model for Niche Video Sharing Sites

Back in January, I wrote about various video sharing sites filling in the niches around YouTube censorship, based on an article by Brad Stone in the New York Times.

This post focused on sharing sites like LiveLeak, Dailymotion, and Stickam, all of which have carved out an audience by providing something that YouTube does not. For LiveLeak, it has been the posting of war videos and footage that YouTube would not allow. For Dailymotion, there is no limit to the length of the videos posted. And, for Stickam, it is the ability to send out live video feeds and have online video chats.

At the beginning of this month, Eric Benderoff with the Chicago Tribune featured another story that highlighted another set of these video sites which are developing niches around the more popular sites.

In this case, the focus was on FORA.tv, whose tagline is "The World Is Thinking." The site is described in the article as "C-Span for Web video," featuring a wide variation of international political videos that might not get that much attention elsewhere. The tight focus provides a model that may not have the ubiquity of YouTube but also has none of the noise. For people who might be looking for "Kuwait's minister of foreign affairs talk for an hour before the International Institute for Strategic Studies," as the article uses as an example, this site would be a concentrated place to find such video footage uploaded.

Fora.tv's Chief Executive Brian Gruber formerly worked as director of marketing for C-Span, explaining the parallel, and the article included a prediction from him that the site would hit "1 million viewers a month." The site also hypes the inclusion of transcripts along with the video for various policy talks.

David Glaubke with The Rose Group, who are helping promote Fora.tv, also sent along an article to me from The San Francisco Chronicle by Ellen Lee that heralded Fora.tv "the thinking man's YouTube." Fora.tv is centered in San Francisco.

Obviously, David's reasons for wanting to spread the word is official, but the site is an interesting addition to the other examples I've highlighted in the past.

According to one of the company's press releases, "The true power of Fora.tv will generate from the users who will, in the same manner of the burgeoning social networks today, create a knowledge network combining video content and commentary that provides the deepest, richest content experience offered to media consumers today."

Also, look at the Tribune story for a variety of other narrow niche networks, including my personal favorite--Flush TV, where "Plumbing's not just a way of life. It's a philosophy."

I think Benderoff is correct to draw the parallel between the niche focus of the magazine market and the way in which these tightly focused video sharing sites are cropping up, and the example of Fora.tv makes a nice parallel to the various sites I highlighted in January.