There are now so many companies vying to be the next YouTube, it’s easy to lose track of them all. Here is a list of the key players in the Video Sharing category.

Video sharing – and particularly YouTube – have been the poster boys of the online video industry so far. Video sharing sites allow you to upload your videos and share them with others. But even if you are not a content producer, you can watch others movies. So this is a very consumer-oriented industry that has been popularized via blog-based viral marketing.

  • YouTube – Like other Sequoia Capital investments Yahoo and Google, YouTube outperformed its competitors and has become a clear winner in video sharing. And Google didn’t skip this opportunity in the online video space, as it took advantage of YouTube’s legal hassles and snapped up the market leader for the relatively small sum(!) of $1.65B. Even though Google already had its own video sharing site, Google Video, this acquisition showed Google’s ambitions in the online video space.
  • Yahoo Video remains well behind Google Video and YouTube. Also Yahoo Video does not support as many video formats as the others do. For example, you cannot upload your videos directly from your mobile, because this format is not supported yet. Yahoo is trying to increase Yahoo Video usage by making it a part of their other well established properties. For instance, you can see Yahoo Video stories on their homepage.
  • SoapBox is Microsoft’s answer to the latest developments in the video sharing industry. It is in invitation only beta status for now, but will probably go live very soon. It is expected to be a crucial part of Microsoft’s new initiative, although the site is currently under the MSN domain.
  • Grouper was snapped up by Sony for $60M and is expected to be integrated with Sony’s future digital cameras.
  • PhotoBucket – a crucial component of most social networking sites and the number one photo sharing site, did not miss the big opportunity in online video space and has a video component too.
  • Webshots – like PhotoBucket, photo sharing site Webshots (a CNET property) has also caught the online video wave.
  • Ning – Netscape founder Marc Andreesen’s latest venture recently turned its focus onto video features and in some sense became a player in the online video sharing space as well.
  • iFilm was acquired by Viacom, the owner of MTV Networks, in October 2005. The site claims to get more than 10 million visitors per month.
  • MetaCafe – Israel based company is estimated to be the second biggest player in this space after YouTube. The company does not limit itself to its home country and has big international ambitions. It was recently rumoured to be acquired by Yahoo for $200M. The company is backed by top tier VC companies like Benchmark Capital and Accel Partners. MetaCafe does not have a time limitation like YouTube, and offers a rich desktop client for easy uploading. Their unique revenue sharing program was a great innovation in this space.
  • DailyMotion – The number one video sharing site in France is also a key player in the global arena. Allows 150MB of video upload and has a larger default video size.
  • GoFish – Publicly traded company is worth $126M as of this writing. Its popularity is well below others though.
  • – The site wants you to program your own channel with your favourite movies, music and clips, then broadcast it from your web page, blog or MySpace. This is a well thought through viral marketing tactic, but the site’s traffic seems low at this time.
Some of the upcomers in video sharing are: Vimeo, VideoJug, Kewego, China’s Yoqoo, Revver,Veoh, iBloks, VidiLife, Blip.TV, VodPod, Fliqz.