Endeavor, I agree that th



I agree that there are a lot of people entering the market because the barriers to entry are getting lower. Amazing video capture devices are coming out, inexpensive editing equipment, and anyone who can afford it can now be hired to capture content.

As a web developer, I try to understand user behavior. And what I’ve found is that users who are allowed to create their own content bring other users with them. For example, this videomaker website probably gets an amazing hit count, let’s pretend 85 because of its writers. Now let’s say that it had a forum where people were allowed to speak to each other about what interests them. By looking at the counts on the forums, you can see thousands of hits. Not everyone is talking about writers content, but it drives content consumers like us to this website. Sometimes I look at the forums. Other times I read what the amazing writers here are covering. I am sure it goes both ways; I think writers of the magazine can get ideas about trends by sampling what’s on these forums, and then get creative by writing articles in the magazine and giving it to their print readers. This in turn drives more traffic to their website.

Similarly with video, the focus by content producers is too narrowly on, "no one is going to watch 2 hours of content, so I’m not going to put it up there". This comes from the one way method of viewing content from pre web days. But add a guestbook to get a 2 way method of watching and commenting exactly under the video using web 2.0 AJAX techniques. That’s where you update the section of only the guestbook while video plays, without refreshing the whole page. This means that even when someone adds a comment, only the comments section updates, the video keeps playing undisturbed. Then for your video instead of just people viewing video in a one way situation like DVD, they begin interacting. Like on this website. One person comments online, "Hey, check out time 1 hour, 25 minutes", someone else responds, "Nice Dress", and eventually by enough people responding to each other on the web, more people make each other aware of details others may have missed when they first watched the video. They come back to watch it again. Your content, which you track, is being consumed by people who want it. They market it for you with the tools you give them.

  |         AJAX update this, keep video running
comments <----------------------------------------> users

I know as videographers the quality of video produced is most important. But to your users their comments about your video is just as important. Video brings in the initial people. Then the comments magnetically bring in more. Yes, 500 views is optimistic. But check out your kids’ or grandkids’ mySpace profiles. Check out their faceBook profiles. They have more online friends than real friends, at times these online friends number in the thousands. These online friends are people they will never see in real life. These are people you would never reach with silver disk based media. And by allowing them to interact with each other they come back to the site like we’re coming back to read and post more here. And they watch more video. Some of them get the idea that pro video is worth the expense. But the online video viewing crowd will never get it unless the professionals get started doing this. Peers of mine in their 30s and 20s don’t watch media on television or disk anymore. They watch most of their content on a computer because of this 2 way method of commenting on what they are watching while they watch it.

I know, because I sell this solution. I’ve thought through the process and fine tuned it. It works. I’ve built a business of transcoding videographers wedding video, password protection, creating the guestbook, and generating stats for each consumer. It works because of amazing video. The video attracts initial users. The missing piece pro videographers forget about is the user generated comments about WHY they are being hired in the first place. Video is something people are proud of and the audience WANTS to share. They do this by making comments in an online guestbook. After a few people have commented on the events, the amazing stuff goes on in the commentary. They speak about their lives, people they once knew, relationships long forgotten. And they keep coming back to consume the content. There’s stats you can create and build directly inside your online player that you would never be able to get with DVD. Like how many times and where people pause. Or how often they click to certain timecodes; how often they skip certain sections; which sections they skip; how much total time they have watched. All this is not Big Brother trying to follow users everywhere, it gets the videographer to finetune his/her skills during future edits. Let your users decide what to watch, don’t decide for them. And then by looking at the stats you can optimize your future video process because you have your own real stats to go by, from consumers watching your own content, not what some other pro tells you works. After you’ve seen how users respond to 20 videos you create, you have more of an understanding for how your users consume your content.

And don’t be fooled by the process, Endeavor; some users will stop by just to see your video content. A lot more will stop by if you allow them to voice their thoughts and read their peers’ thoughts. So yes, your next test market case for online video might bring in some users. But give thought to the whole process. Create a great user experience for your visitors. No distractions on the viewing page. AJAX guestbook access. Flash video to accomodate the widest range of windows and mac users. Build stats into your videoplayer so you can see the finer points of your user behavior. If you want to battle the inexperienced videographers, THIS is the way to do it. Let your amazing content speak for itself and let your consumers share. Don’t just give away video, give your consumers a reason to stay and the tools to bring more people in to consume your video.

If you don’t know how to do this, hire me to do it for you. $100 for the whole process, per consumer account. Resell it to your customer for $200. I guarantee it’s less for the whole process outsourcing to a web developer like me because I’ve thought through the online process which gives back to the appropriate content producers and consumers. Or do it yourself. Learn a whole bunch doing it. Save yourself $100 per account and you can learn everything you wanted to know about AJAX, browser compatibility, transcode times, codecs, online video compression, and the best content delivery networks to optimize bandwidth.

Despite the marketing hype of HD, consumers are not going to pay more for slightly higher quality media on expensive one way next generation disk based HDDVD/Blu-Ray media. The future of making money creating video is not by differentiating through certification programs. It lies in showing a mass audience online why your content is better than everyone else. Even if it is smaller and more compressed online. The secret is ease of access, not highest quality. Get them to talk it up by giving your audience the video AND the tools to talk it up. The experienced videographer who shows his or her entire piece to the masses online makes it very obvious why video is important. But by providing tools and letting the audience promote it, future sales are much more likely. The difference also is that anyone can put up their entire video online today in a web browser. Get people to share, talk it up, comment, and generate useful stats. The HD crowd is talking up something which is super expensive today but will be mass market in 3-5 years. Until that time I’m working on my business right now, I’m doing all of the above today and making money doing it.


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