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Online videos cross Kolaveri threshold

india Updated: Nov 27, 2011 21:36 IST
N Madhavan

Last week was significant for watchers of the exploding world of online videos. And it found an epiphanic zing in "Kolaveri Di" - which, in case you still do not know - is a catchy rap-like heartbreak song with plenty of nonsensical lyrics, sung by Tamil movie star Dhanush.

The digital significance of the song is that as this column is being written, its views on YouTube have touched 6.9 million - within a week of its release. It spread like wildfire across the Internet, and mainstream media picked it up from there - that's a clear trend-setting moment.

Also last week, Yahoo launched its India video site, with special partnerships to legally bring media content to desktops and mobile phones.

Samsung Electronics, the world's No.1 maker of flat-panel television sets, confirmed it was in advanced talks with search giant Google to launch a TV next year using Google TV software. This would allow Samsung to beef up "smart TVs" that have Internet-like functionality. Google TV will enable online videos to be searched systematically and watched on home TVs.

Also, I visited a Microsoft office where I was told about how Xbox, its video game console, was growing up with its own video-on-demand service.

And then, I met Ray Newal, a former Yahoo vice-president for content acquisitions who is running a startup called Jigsee, which is a free video application that works on many popular phones - let us say, ones that could cost as low as Rs 3,000.

Jigsee has developed algorithms and server-based technologies to enable smooth video delivery even with data connections as low as 50 kbps. This could take videos to below the smartphone threshold and enable the "Nano of mobile videos" to emerge.

Just as well that Kolaveri in Tamil means "killer rage": Internet videos could be a killer app (application) in 2012.