August 5, 2007
Skype/Metacafe Deal Expands Video Sharing Site's Reach

VIdeo sharing site Metacafe has made the news in the past week by striking a deal with Skype to provide its videos to Skype users, integrated in the newest Skype launch. Among the features are options to allow users to include a video in a chat or as part of their profile. There is also a deal in place for Dailymotion.

What does this mean? It's the latest in a continuing number of cross-platform distribution deals, as more and more it is online channels finding an increasing number of avenues to promote their content. Metacafe, in its effort to be more than just a one-stop destination for Web videos, is trying to extend the Metacafe reach outward, and that includes syndicating into programs like Skype that are becoming more and more mainstream for broadband Internet users.

Not surprisingly, while reviewing the newest Skype program update, Dan York is critical of the deal from a Skype user perspective, on his Disruptive Telephony blog. He writes about how his excitement at being able to add videos "was a bit tempered when I realized that you can only add video from specific Skype partners."

He predicts that Metacafe will see a flurry of new users, though, as Skypers log onto the site to be able to upload and share videos for their Skype profile.

Meanwhile, Belgian blogger Jean Mercier, who follows Skype as "a first hour user," asks whether the deal will attract new consumers: "I doubt about it!"

From Metacafe's perspective, this is just extending their network further, so it can be nothing but a benefit to those who upload their videos on Metacafe with the intent of seeing them shared. I understand the frustration from some Skype users, however, that the video sharing tools is so limited to a couple of one-off deals at this point. But, as I've said many times before, it seems that these changes have to come one deal at a time. (Look here and here.)

I wrote about Metacafe Producer Rewards program back in January, pointing out the difficulties the site was having with people trying to trick its system. But these continuing deals are more a part of the effort video sites have been going through to distinguish themselves from one another. For more on this, see my post last month on Hotswap.