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Are Video Data Centers Prepared for Vimeo's Hold on YouTube?

By: Kaylie Gyarmathy on August 14, 2014

Want to be an Internet sensation? Common Web wisdom says you should create a hilarious or informative video, head over to YouTube and start posting. With more than a billion unique visits each month and 100 hours of video uploaded to the Google service every minute, it only makes sense that YouTube stars — and the video data centers that serve up this content — should be making money hand over fist.

According to CNBC, however, the game may be changing: rival service Vimeo has lured away several of YouTube's top acts with the promise of better money. Is InterActiveCorp on the edge of an Internet coup?

Premium Content

That's the new goal for Vimeo, one the company hopes will set it apart from YouTube's “anyone with a camera” mentality. According to CEO Kerry Trainor, his company plans to focus on a higher-quality experience, “allowing and empowering creators to actually charge for content instead of relying on a purely mass advertising-based model.”

The pitch seems to be working. So far three major YouTube stars — Joey Graceffa, ComicBookGirl19, and Taryn Southern — have signed on to create exclusive content for Vimeo. With artists able to set their own prices and hand over just 10 percent of the profits, the competition's 50 percent take and ad-based revenue stream starts to seem archaic. Right now IAC's video service has just a fraction of the traffic enjoyed by YouTube but better money could be a watershed moment, especially if Vimeo nails down the “premium” experience.

Hurry Up and Wait

Users are familiar — and often frustrated — with the classic YouTube loading animation, enough that someone designed a working costume to simulate the effect. The funniest bit? On several sites, the “making of” video is hosted by Vimeo.

Joking aside, there's a message here: consumers hate waiting, and especially hate waiting when they've already paid. A University of Nebraska-Lincoln study examined the concept of Tolerable Waiting Time (TWT), which is the time users will spend waiting for a Web page, document, or video to load. According to the study, delays of one to 20 seconds were tolerable but produced some frustration in users. Those over 30 seconds were intolerable unless accompanied by some type of feedback or progress bar. Too long and consumers will abandon their download altogether; if they've already paid but can't get access, there will be social hell to pay.

There's a valuable takeaway here for companies like Vimeo: premium content goes hand-in-hand with premium speed. Companies looking to edge out the competition need to consider not only cabinet density and data throughput, but look for a data center partner who doesn't tie them down. Carrier-netural providers with dedicated fiber optic connections are the data center version of Vimeo's 'premium content', a way to ensure content delivery on-demand rather than a paid-for progress bar.

Bottom line? Done right, IAC's offering might just steal the spotlight.

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