Outsourcing Everything but the Company Name
"You really have two choices: piecemeal together products and services to try and do it yourself, which can be very costly, time-consuming, and difficult to innovate ahead of a fast-changing market. Or you can use an internet TV platform like Brightcove, which comes with all the capabilities and infrastructure needed to launch and maintain a broadband video business," says Brightcove SVP of marketing and strategy Adam Berrey.
If you do have a technical staff, you also have the option of building the site yourself. Now while that doesn’t really sound like outsourcing, in many cases you’ll find that the heavy lifting’s already been done by someone else—you would be surprised by the number of standard developer tools that exist around building video players. Flash, as a programming platform, lets you build sites and players rather easily. There are also open source players on the market like the JW FLV player that let you customize a player and embed the code directly into your site, without ever having to write or compile any code.
Vikash Mishra, CTO of MediaMerx and former Flash developer for MTV and ESPN, tells us that "despite burgeoning resources, oftentimes large media companies will hire an agile external vendor to quickly build a media player to some set of specifications, rather than developing the player internally. Choosing a vendor that is informed about the latest and greatest tools allows a company to expend resources on content innovation rather than on keeping up with a constantly changing technology landscape. The downside to that speed, however, is cost."
A slightly different approach from that of building a video destination website is to start a blog and embed videos into your blog. This is quite popular and offers the basics of a streaming video product. Monetizing this video becomes more of a challenge, but it can be done.
According to Andy Plesser, executive producer of Beet.TV, "The tools for creating video are literally right at our fingertips. Virtually all Windows machines have Microsoft Movie Maker in Accessories. It is a simple and intuitive program. Same with iMovie, a simple editing program that comes with most new Macs.
"These programs provide essential functions: importing and digitizing video from a camera, editing and rendering a video file. You will need to select the size of the file you want to save," Plesser adds. "For most web video, it should be well under 100MB. Creating the web video is done by uploading to video-sharing service such as VideoEgg, YouTube, Blip, Revver, and many others. Most of these sites allow you to publish the videos directly to your blog. You simply enter the blog particulars into your account."
There are several blogging tools available, including Blogger, TypePad, and WordPress. Most of these blogging tools offer a free service as well as a premium service. Embedding video into a blog is quite simple. Do this a few times and you’ve got a website that streams video. Getting customers and making money is your next challenge.
Hosting and Delivery
The next building block is the hosting and streaming of your site and content. As stated before, going with an internet TV provider can take hosting and streaming out of the picture for you, because they build on top of existing content distribution networks and offer you a single low price for the entire service.
If you decide to keep hosting and streaming as separate building blocks, you have a few options. You can go for standard hosting from a company like GoDaddy or 1&1 Internet. Their prices are right for getting a basic website up quickly and cheaply. Be careful though, because they oftentimes put limits on the amount of storage and bandwidth that you are allowed. These types of hosting solutions are great for your website’s HTML and Flash application components but are not ideal for a streaming video business. You may want to consider a Content Distribution Network for your streaming video content.
Akamai, Limelight, and Edgecast are among the many "industrial-grade" solutions for content distribution. You can also look into web services offerings like that of Amazon. If your needs are a lot smaller, you might find that a more "free" solution better fits your current offering. There is always YouTube as a place to host your content, but a more advanced and robust option is blip.tv, which will host and syndicate your content for you for free with or without advertising.
Companies and Suppliers Mentioned