The hot tech topic of the day is “viral videos,” a term invented to describe the links circulated by e-mail to short online movies. Out of nowhere, Chris Bliss’ juggling routine was viewed by 50 million people within 45 days – after languishing for years on the performer’s web site. This week it’s Stephen Colbert’s extraordinary performance at the White House Correspondent’s Association dinner. Time Magazine published an article last week about viral videos. The term was used in Doonesbury yesterday.

It’s brought YouTube to prominence – another site like MySpace that grew its audience of gazillions of people without much attention from mainstream media.

YouTube is streaming huge numbers of short movie clips – reportedly 40 million per day. It’s not obvious whether it can make any money.

This Forbes article is a good reminder that the dependable money in this business, like many others, is in the middle of the chain. It’s estimated that YouTube is paying a million dollars a month to the company that provides its bandwidth. Another content delivery provider, Akamai Technologies, controls as much as half the content delivery market and appears to be booming – increased earnings and a skyrocketing stock price. Web sites may come and go, but the demand for bandwidth remains.

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