Ok, so our scare about losing our entire YouTube channel is over--after 12 hours of downtime and still no info from YouTube. See details here. YouTube is such a major part of the web today, so you almost have no choice but to publish your video content there. But what is the best way to do this and how can you protect your assets along the way?
The video publishing process has a few important elements:
The biggest recent change in Video publishing on the web has been that Youtube allows you to post a 1-gig, 10 minute HD file. This was a big move and dented most/all of the competitive services. Google of course also crawls YouTube and weights popular videos high on results page.
But as we are aware now, YouTube is not organized for good/any customer/publisher user service, so now the competitive offers are about service and support unsurprisingly.
We hear a lot of great stuff about Hulu, but they only stream within the US at this time. Also they seem to be more oriented around the big studios, tv channels. So I had a look at some of the other options including Vimeo and Blip.tv . While they both seem to have about the same publishing offer as YouTube, Blip has recently pumped up its capability for bigger distribution and even some hope for monetization support. You could of course try to host your own video using server/hosting/player combo including Longtail JW Player, or Flowplayer. If anyone has any experience with these it would be great to know how good/bad these options are. If you are going to go on your own, then you need to have a good hosting contract (with unlimited bandwidth!). The main benefit is that your content would only be available from your site/servers, but then again you might lose the audience hitting the other platforms.
Our feeling right now is that actually YouTube is not driving that much traffic to http://heritage-key.com, but Google is. So probably we are sending more of our traffic to YouTube right now, then the other way around--but we hope to see some lift as our heritage Key Channel popularity increase (so please favorite our videos!)
In addition to finding a hot-swap for YouTube in the event that something random happens again, we also wanted a better way to publish to iTunes--which Blip.tv offers as part of it distro mix.
Youtube is so big = 1.2 billion streams a day and growing, that they just don't seem to care about servicing the smaller content creators. You need Youtube, but you also need some hot-swap options.
So first we had to make a quick tidy on how we even handle the Video files. We set-up a Lacie NAS in our office to hold the final shows archive. We went for a 4terabyte rack mounted one, but actually you can get cheap 1tr desktop versions now also. Just make sure you keep back-ups!--as video seems to kill drives frequently enough. Anyway, make an archive, organize all the show related stuff into folders.
Our site runs Drupal where we have a specific content type to post the videos and related information, descriptions (see an example). So to present the video to a site visitor we want to use the embed code from YouTube. Now we will also hold the embed code for Blip.tv in case we have to quickly switch over. We would just need to make a simple change on the Drupal code to present the blip.tv embedded player rather than YouTube.
While I did send an email to Blip.tv people and still no reply--it would seem more likely to get someone on the phone from Blip than YouTube--which is impossible. I even stumped up for the Pro Account, which is of course a nice show of support, to get the iTunes publishing capability. Publishing to iTunes is not so straightforward. Blip will also flow your show across a lot of other sites, channels including aol, twitter, facebook, vimeo and internet archive. Interestingly they also send to Tivo and some hotel channels. See Blip.tv distribution info here. So if you want iTunes then Blip is an easy way, plus you get the additional benefit of other downstream audiences off their platform.
They also have a feed to YouTube. But as far as I can tell, the feed is to their Blip.tv channel on YouTube. I am not sure if this is so useful as it would mean our content would be on YouTube twice--deflecting the traffic from our channel and also annoying Google SEO. But if you didn't have a website this might be a great option. Blip also will share the monetization from YouTube that only the larger YouTube content partners can get their paws on now.
So that's our latest thinking about how best to publish, manage our video content using the big elephant YouTube but also watching out not to get stepped upon. If anyone has any other ideas, please share here. Any question drop them in the comments.