Wednesday, June 08, 2011

The Revolving Door Of Video Distribution Sites

Blog by S. English

By the time this blog posts there will be another video site that has gone bust and yet another new one that has been called the greatest video site of the year. It never fails. Even with our expansive database of video distribution sites we see the list grow then deflate and grow again at a rate fast enough to need a designated employee to always keep up  on the list from week to week.

I loved Motionbox and I loved Clipser but they went the way of the Dodo so I turn to other sites  like Mr. Wong or perhaps some Ning group sites appropriate to our client’s needs. It’s the way of video distribution, so you need to be flexible and you need to always be on the lookout for what’s new and what’s dying.

This is where the benefit of a distribution team comes in. With over 350 distribution sites in our database someone needs to be on the lookout for what’s working and what’s not. We go in and make notes and check back to see if a particular site is just lapsed for a while or if it actually died and needs to be removed from the database into archive.  It’s a big job that has constant changes, but with vigilant team members on hand to let us know what works and what doesn’t we are able to keep our database on the rise.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Getting What You Pay For

Blog by S. English

The best way to know what you’re going to get is to ask. Read any material made available to you that describes what service or product you are going to get and ask questions if something isn’t included.
If you pay for a video and you get the video and it is as described then it is up to you to take it and utilize it. If you also get distribution with your video be sure to search the web and make sure the video went up as promised. It’s not difficult to set up a Google Alert for your video so you don’t have to search the web for it if you prefer.

Sometimes I get requests from clients about changes to their video after it has been approved, turned in and distributed. If a book’s cover changes when it goes to paperback a client may want to update just the cover that shows at the end of the video. That is something that can be done for a nominal fee.

I think people don’t always realize that removing the video from archive can take hours. It may not require someone to babysit it as you pull it from archive into the editing bay, but it does take up a computer that cannot be utilized until the download is complete, so the editor cannot work until the process is over. Then it takes time to make the changes, re-render the video which means to compress it into a useable format and then get it to the client. This is what that “nominal fee” covers. It’s no where near the price of a video, but it gives the video new life if the client wants to resubmit it online to let people know the paperback is now out.
Sometimes we’re asked to change out the cover and add in new text, often by foreign publishers who have purchased the rights to the book. The takes a bit more time since all of the text has to be changed out. Even if the publisher sends us the translation sometimes the timing can change according to the language and the video rhythm must be adjusted. It’s never a slap-it-in-place kind of job. You want whoever is watching the video to have a quality experience with proper words matched up to the right visuals.

We have also had people come back and ask for screen captures to highlight on their website or in blogs. The same process applies as far as removing it from archive. There is a way to do a screen capture directly from the YouTube version, but the quality is usually not satisfactory for web site use.  And, utilizing photos from a video for the author’s website may incur additional costs for additional licensing according to what the original license was.

Distribution is often misunderstood when it comes to getting what you paid for. If you pay for distribution of a video then you’re paying for a service and the reach of that service. It does not automatically include analytics or the ability to allow the client to pick and choose where it will go. Reporting and analytics are available but they are often labor intensive and someone has to be paid for the time it takes to monitor sites and create a report. 

Distribution and video maintenance on distribution sites are not the same thing. We distribute a video to a platform such as YouTube or Myspace. As long as it appears there when it is first distributed it is considered launched and we have fulfilled our obligation. But, from time to time a site will remove a video. We don’t own those sites so it is up the site what can stay and what must go. There are a lot of reasons something may be rejected, and we may not be informed as to the reason for the rejection.

Unless specifically arranged or part of a higher level distribution package video maintenance ends upon distribution completion, within 48 hours of launch. Some higher level distribution will have 30 days of maintenance in which someone manually watches the progress of the video. If it is taken down someone puts it back up or replaces it with another site. This is labor intensive and a separate service from basic distribution.
No one works for free. Or at least they shouldn’t. Services that require someone to do something for any amount of time incurs a charge. It’s not that we are nickel and diming anyone. We can’t survive as a company by giving away our time and I doubt anyone expects that.

But, to always play it safe not matter what service or product you’re getting, be sure you get all of your questions answered prior to signing on the bottom line.