Steady flow of online video deals

Emerging online video markets have been keeping investors and acquirers busy, with Google making the latest move through its recent purchase of tiny startup Omnisio. The California-based startup, which received seed funding from Y Combinator, launched in March and offers an online video editing widget that enables users to slice and mash existing online videos, add text and audio commentary and create proprietary slideshow presentations. Google plans to integrate Omnisio’s technology and its three Australian ex-pat founders into its YouTube platform.

In the past two years, companies have spent more than $7bn on more than 50 deals in the (broadly defined) online video space. The largest of these was Google’s purchase of YouTube for $1.65bn in October 2006. Rival Yahoo has also been active. It picked up video sharing site Jumpcut two years ago, as well spending $160m for video distribution platform Maven Networks earlier this year and a total bill of nearly $1bn for related advertising networks BlueLithium and Right Media in 2007.

Meanwhile, traditional media bigwigs are also banking on online video and advertising markets. In March, News Corp and NBC launched their $100m joint TV venture, Hulu, just month after picking up Chinese startup Mojiti, which serves as the TV streaming platform for Hulu. Although professional video streaming services such as Hulu are expected to be able to secure ad dollars quicker than user-generated video sites, it’s still early in that market.

One market where we see tremendous opportunity is for ad-based mobile services. Consider nine-year-old MobiTV, which has been streaming to mobile devices since 2003. Operating on a subscription-based revenue model, MobiTV claims profitability. Last year, the company received $100m in its latest round of VC funding, and is actively looking to use that cash to buy its own advertising network. In this crowded and bustling marketplace, the top Internet and media behemoths would do well to pay attention to well-footed upstarts like MobiTV.

Selected online video deals

Date announced Acquirer Target Deal value
July 30, 2008 Google Omnisio $15m (reported)
Feb. 12, 2008 Yahoo Maven Networks $160m
Sept. 12, 2007 Hulu Mojiti not disclosed
Oct. 9, 2006 Google YouTube $1.65bn
June 27, 2006 Yahoo Jumpcut not disclosed