Media Lifeline: Video-sharing websites

Technological advancements have tempted a plethora of budding actors, singers and directors online.

June 2004: Yahoo! launches the Yahoo! Videoblogging Group, a website platform for the growing community of videobloggers. Videoblogging was the natural successor to the sorts of amateur video diaries that broadcasters such as the BBC had been showcasing, for instance in the Video Nation strand, since the early 90s.

February 2005: YouTube is created by Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Jawed Karim. It enables users to share a wide variety of video material, from short home-made videos and videoblogs to clips pirated from mainstream music, TV and film companies.

May 2005: A group of five Yahoo! Videoblogging Group employees leaves to set up as an enhanced videoblogging platform. It encourages regular users to develop threads of serialised content rather than following the unstructured magpie ethos of the likes of YouTube. Soon after attracting new funding in 2006, it enters into a partnership agreement with CNN.

January 2006: Google launches Google Video. It struggles to hit on a coherent model - it initially attempts to compete with iTunes, offering fee-based downloads of feature films, then attempts to copy YouTube. But it builds only a small marketshare by the time Google decides to play catch-up in a far more serious fashion by buying YouTube itself for $1.65 million in November 2006.

June 2007: MySpace, the social networking site purchased by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp for $580 million in July 2005, relaunches its video-sharing site as MySpaceTV - to remind potential users that it is now the second-largest such site behind YouTube.

Fast forward

December 2007: In a move that stuns the market with its audacious genius, Hurley and Chen leave YouTube to launch, a service that gives users access to every closed-circuit television system and webcam network in the world. However, it causes political uproar on both sides of the Atlantic. In the US, there are worries about copycat crime; while in Britain, there are concerns that it might encourage excessive busking.