Is The Future Of Online Video Viewing More Social?

These days everything on the Internet is going social. As more and more people are becoming accustomed to sites like Facebook and Twitter, the demand for social features is on the rise. People want to be able to communicate with one another, share content easily and feel as if they are a part of the content they are consuming. What does this mean for online video?

Today I attended an Akamai HD Webinar about the online video experience. The webinar consisted of a discussion between online video industry experts Emil Rensing of Epix, Glenn Goldstein of MTV Networks Digital Media, Karsten Welde of IDC and Eric Black of NBC Sports. The speakers discussed the new technologies and features that are contributing to the advancement of online video viewing and the online video industry. However, the thing that I found most intriguing was a short discussion they had about social features in online video.

Rensing of Epix spoke about a new feature that their online site is offering that allows users to invite friends to watch movies with them. Friends are able to sit together in a virtual private screening room, chat in real-time about the movie and use synchronized playback features to review different parts of the movie together.

Goldstein of MTV Networks talked about video commenting, which he referred to as “vommenting.” When MTV online video viewers make video comments they pop up over the video, with the user’s avatar displayed, as other viewers watch. MTV is also a big proponent of live commenting systems where viewers can read other people’s comments in real time while they watch video content.

Welde of IDC also reiterated the importance of offering social features. He said that these days with so many people on Facebook and Twitter, we have just come to expect social features from all of our online platforms. Do you agree that social features will become an increasingly important part of online video viewing? What do you think the future of watching videos online will be like?