Web Video: Make It YourTube
Video Publishing 101
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VIDEO PUBLISHING 101
It is possible to publish your own videos. Plenty of tools exist, both simple and complex, both out-of-thebox and deeply customizable. Both Microsoft and Adobe have video publishing platforms. Adobe's Flash Media Server is extremely popular, and the company touts the ability to stream video right out of the box. This doesn't include building more customized components, such as interactive features. If all you want to do is put a few corporate videos up, or run something internally, this will suffice. Adobe will let you upgrade to an Origin/Edge version of FMS, which allows for more scalability. But remember, your hardware and infrastructure must be up to supporting the load.
Microsoft offers similar technology and has been on a Silverlight crusade lately, forming partnerships with everyone, including last fall's interesting tryst with Novell to bring Silverlight applications onto Linux (henceforth referred to as Moonlight) and to offer a Linux SDK for building Silverlight apps. Because Silverlight comes from Microsoft, it's both cursed and blessed. It has been met with huge skepticism because of Microsoft's tendency to want to own any new technology much too late in the game; but many developers have lauded it as a rich application platform because it relies on the powerful Extensible Application Markup Language (XAML), an XML format that can be called (or dynamically created) from a variety of development platforms, like Ruby on Rails, ASP.Net, and Java. (More on building Silverlight apps.)
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The problem, as always, is that you have to download a browser plug-in, but there are versions for Firefox and Safari, as well as Internet Explorer, and it runs on the Macintosh OS (with Linux support on its way). Another challenge is that there's little early Silverlight development experience out there, or at least that's what we found building a specialized Silverlight site in December. Certainly that's changing today, and a quick search on Google, (Product Placement Coming) while heating up a can of Chunky Soup, revealed a healthy list of resources.The next problem, of course, is that the Silverlight plug-in installed base won't make you rush out and build on this platform unless you can foresee needing some of its feature benefits and have the patience for the Microsoft Marketing Engine to kick into high gear, which it presently is.
If you're doing a hefty amount of video and development in Flash or Windows Media Server (or Silverlight) there are still many moving pieces, such as transcoding, workflow, ad serving, file upload, and video and ad analytics.
Companies like CBS Interactive, ABC.com, and Fox partner with a multitude of hosted services or deploy sophisticated technology to do everything from encoding massive amounts of video to delivering it to the CDN.
Move Networks has become not only the latest industry darling, but the "it" company for high-profile video providers like (Shameless Name Dropping) ABC and Fox, providing a high-quality media player and delivery system with a muscular architecture behind it.This company started in 2006 behind Steamboat Ventures, a Disney investment arm, with the help of Drew Major (one of the founders and chief architects in the early Novell days). Move has raised well over $50 million in funding since inception. It was behind the initial launch of ABC.com and ESPN 360, and is now working with Fox.com. It has focused on quality (even for high-definition and long-form programming) and scale (it delivered 300,000 concurrent streams of an Oprah Winfrey special in March) and a variety of elements intended to help monetize video streams, Move CEO John Edwards says (while denying he's THAT John Edwards).
The big difference with Move Networks is in the preparation of the video. It breaks the video into a series of small files that are tagged for viewing and prepared for every environment imaginable, including mobile delivery. Move's documentation claims this is a more scalable way to deliver video than a centralized server that has to provide an unbreakable stream session with a client.
Companies that do video for a living--and by that, I mean it's a primary business into which they've invested massive dollars--will have the wherewithal to work directly with the CDN or employ sophisticated services from companies like Move. Most custom-build their own video players and publishing processes using Flash and various workflow tools. To do this for a company that simply publishes video as one piece of the rest of what it does is onerous. If you want special features, like letting users upload their own video, if you want to tie video content into your site taxonomy, if you want to serve ads as pre-roll, if you want to add the ability to rate content or comment, if you want to create thumbnails and design different players for various parts of your site ... the amount of development isn't trivial.
We've evaluated what amounts to specialized video content publishing systems from companies like Maven (now owned by Yahoo), The FeedRoom (our current provider), and Brightcove.There are many others, like ThePlatform. Our experiences so far have been enlightening. Because we do more publishing than just video, it made sense to outsource the publishing and reporting system; and yet we need the publishing system to work with our content management system and Web analytics platform. (If you'd like a copy of our RFP, e-mail me at email@example.com.)