Social Networking Sites Becoming Networks

WSJ has a look at the growing trend among social networking sites like Bebo and MySpace using original video content as a way to grow and expand their user base:

“The growing popularity of YouTube poses a particular competitive threat to social-networking sites. Roughly a quarter of users who view videos on MySpace also watch shows on each of the major television networks’ Web sites, while more than 80% watch them on YouTube, according to Nielsen Online.

What’s more, the average MySpace visitor spent 10% less time on the site in January 2008 compared with January 2007, according to comScore Inc. The average YouTube user spent 57% more time on YouTube during the same period. To reverse the trend, social networks want to engage members with compelling shows they hope can generate the level of buzz of other Web video hits.”

This strikes me as another signal that the traditional TV network is going to be going through a pretty serious shift over the next few years.  Right now we’re all still going to outside sources for our entertainment – basically “tuning in” to a site or a channel.

I believe the big shift will be when the entertainment simply comes to us.  Each of us will have a personal portal (like your Facebook profile) where all the possible entertainment you might be interested in or subscribed to could be accessed and viewed.  No more turning to channel 10 for news then channel 22 for cartoons then going online for gossip.

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