It’s now four years – give or take a few weeks – since broadband Britain reached its tipping point.
Halfway through 2005 there were finally more homes connected to the internet via high speed broadband than via achingly slow dial-up. Video on the web suddenly made a lot more sense.
And given that we’re still in the early stages of this particular media evolution, it’s not surprising that we are are still learning.
Here are five such moments from the last seven days:
1. If you build it they will come…
…provided you build something elegant and easy to use. And then market it like crazy.
This was the week that we learned how the hugely successful BBC iPlayer has overtaken MySpace to become the 20th most visited website in the UK . The iPlayer is now comfortably the second most popular video site even if its 13 per cent share is still dwarfed by YouTube’s 65 per cent.
If you want more evidence of success just look at the BBC’s terrestrial rivals. ITV, Five and even Channel 4 – which had a year’s head start over the BBC – are now aping the look, feel and functionality of the corporation’s efforts. No hefty applets to download – just click and play.
Of course, this model – a different player for each network – will look anachronistic within a few years. Maybe less. Hulu arrives on these shores soon.
2. Don’t do video unless you’re adding value
If you are going to put moving pictures on your newspaper website it’s a good idea to ask why? And the answer should be that it adds something to your storytelling.
Last week the Independent completed a deal that sees the Press Association providing more than 100 90-second clips a week, each focusing on a single news item.
Nothing wrong with the quality or content of the video that the Indy is getting, but where’s the added value? Unless the video has some killer footage or a must-see interview, why would a reader of a 500-word news article click play? I’m not sure they would.
Putting ‘Myth 4’ to rest – namely that ‘Advertisers are afraid of YouTube’ – the post asserted:
Over 70 per cent of Ad Age Top 100 marketers ran campaigns on YouTube in 2008. They’re buying our homepage, Promoted Videos, overlays, and in-stream ads. Many are organizing contests that encourage the uploading of user videos to their brand channels, or running advertising exclusively on popular user partner content.
We wait, breathlessly, for a follow-up post so we can discover how many of these elite brands made a return on their YouTube investment.
5. Death becomes you
Nearly a month after his passing, Michael Jackson’s life is still being celebrated online. Eight out of this week’s viral video top 20 are either Jackson originals or owe their inspiration to the singer.
A case of the long tail occupying the head. For a few weeks at least.
YouTube is offering news outlets featured in Google News the opportunity to become an official partner of the site – with an aim to increase video views on both YouTube and Google News.
According to a post on the Google News Blog, a partnership will offer the chance of prominent placement of a news organisation’s videos on YouTube’s news page; and, if the videos are embeddable, the opportunity to appear as a featured video on Google News.
The firm is looking for web savvy recent graduates or undergraduates with journalism or new media related degrees for a paid internship on the company’s online communications team, according to a release.
Willing participants should create a video of just 12 seconds explaining why they’re right for the job and post it to a video-sharing site (e.g. YouTube or Flickr), tagged with ‘intern search’, ‘Big Yellow’ and ‘self storage’.
The closing date for entries is June 13 and the winner will be announced on June 29.
“The student job market has become increasingly competitive, even more so in the current economic climate – that’s why we’d like to offer one lucky individual the chance to cut their razor sharp social media teeth with our marketing team in London,” said Rob Strachan, head of sales and marketing at Big Yellow Group, in the release.
“It’s our way of helping out our industry’s undergraduates and recent graduates find their feet.”
On Wednesday a US District court judge ruled that the site qualified for protection under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and could not be sued for copyright infringement.
The adult video site Io Group were suing on grounds that Veoh violated its copyright in 2006 when the site showed user-uploaded clips from 10 of the company’s films. However, Veoh was found to have complied with DMCA guidelines.
The video-sharing site has plans to harness the power of ‘citizen journalism’ with the launch of its Citizen News channel. Was this video submitted to any news organisations before or at the same time as YouTube?
Whether it was or not this video shows YouTube’s potential for newsgatherers and illustrates the changing relationship between the public and the media – some citizens would rather broadcast the news themselves.
Ever wondered where the videos that have fallen off YouTube – or been pushed – end up?
Enter YouTomb – the elephant’s graveyard of clips that have been removed from the video sharing site for copyright infringements and other offences.
Speaking to Wired.com, YouTomb’s creators – a group of students from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) – say the site isn’t about reshowing illegal material, but is for tracking cases where remixed and satirical clips have been removed for alleged copyright infringements.
“MIT Free Culture became especially interested in the issue after YouTube announced that it would begin using filtering technology to scan users’ video and audio for near-matches with copyrighted material. While automating the takedown process may make enforcement easier, it also means that content falling under fair-use exceptions and even totally innocuous videos may receive some of the collateral damage,” a mission statement on the site reads.
As such the videos on YouTomb are represented by stills and are not available to play, but show stats on how many views they attracted before being pulled.
YouTube has launched a localised version of the video-sharing site for India.
YouTube India will apply ‘an Indian lens’ to filter content from the main site for an Indian audience, according to the site’s blog.
Local content partners have also been signed up to distribute their videos through the site.
1) Who are you and what’s it all about?
We’re an Australian based non-profit called EngageMedia. We run a video sharing website focused on social and environmental issues in the Asia-Pacific region. To run the site we developed Plumi, a free software video sharing platform based on the Plone content management system.
2) Why would this be useful to a journalist?
Plumi would be useful if you wanted to set up and run your own independent video sharing site with the above features and didn’t want to fork out thousands of dollars for a proprietary system. Plumi is completely free and open source and available to be modified and built upon.
3) Is this it, or is there more to come?
There’s a lot more to come. The platform is in constant development and we’re always looking for new programmers to contribute to Plumi or for projects to take it up to build new video sharing sites.
4) Why are you doing this?
Currently no major video sharing site shares the technology it’s built upon meaning users have to bow to often dubious terms and conditions. Coupled with this is the fact that these sites often make large sums of money they don’t share with their contributors. We believe an independent media requires independent and open source infrastructure that is available for anyone to use.
5) What does it cost to use it?
It’s completely free. You will however need a server to set it up on and a geek who knows how to do this.
6) How will you make it pay?
We receive our funding from philanthropic bodies and donations from users of the system. We supplement that income by rolling out video sharing sites for clients. Additionally as the system is open source it attracts a wide variety of contributors who add features and fixes voluntarily.