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Thursday, November 01, 2007


For most of us, creating and editing an animated video isn't enough - we also want to share it with the world. Previously, that meant either wearing out a lot of shoe leather going from door to door to convince people to see it, paying for VHS or DVD distribution or convincing a TV or cable channel to air it.

Thanks to the Internet, those bad old days are gone forever. Too many still think that video distribution means two choices: YouTube ( and Google Video ( And while those early heavyweights are still great choices, several other online video options are up and running. But first, let's go inside YouTube to understand how video distribution via the Internet came of age in 2005.

YouTube, with Over 100 Million Videos Served Daily, got there early and made its name as the McDonald's of online video distribution. Launching in late 2005 and purchased less than a year later by Google for a cool $1.65 billion, it was one of the first sites that made it very easy for bloggers and others on the Internet to embed video clips on their Web pages. (

Before YouTube, online video often required an annoying wait while its data stream was downloaded and buffered into the viewing computer. YouTube considerably increased download speed for most broadband users by using Macromedia's Flash Player 7 or higher (already in about 90 percent of Web browsers) and the Sorenson Spark H.263 video codec ( The use of a readily-available viewer like Flash Player meant that although the video creator still needed a little technical savvy to upload the video, the viewer had nothing to do but click. And that was the simple secret ingrediant that made all the difference.

Reuters estimates that YouTube has more visitors than those of all of its rivals - combined. However, YouTube has its flaws. Today, it has a reputation for removing any video that might remotely have a copyright violation and anything vaguely controversial, if someone complains. And unless you've got a high-end "director's account" with the site, your videos will have to be under ten minutes in length.

Although speed is of the essence, YouTube is far from the only option for online video distribution. Scott Baker and Liz Stephans, veteran television journalists left Pittsburgh's WTAE-TV to become partners with Andrew Breitbart, the proprietor of the news aggregation site (, in a new venture called ( Breitbart also assists Web sites as diverse as news aggregator the Drudge Report (, and the Huffington Post ( celebrity Weblog.

Baker and Stephans are's technical advisors and have experimented with uploading potential content for the site to numerous online video distribution sites. Visiting the URLs that they suggest will be a great starting point to deciding which video distribution site or sites are best for you.

One criterion for Baker and Stephans is how quickly they need to get breaking news clips online. The time it takes to get your video uploaded, converted into an easily downloadable format and, in many cases, approved may not matter if your video isn't time-critical. But with more bloggers adding a video component to their sites, upload time can be very important.

So, for those where speed is of the essence, the question is which sites offer the fastest turnaround for uploads? "This wouldn't be a scientific study, of course," Baker says, "but I think YouTube is not bad. We haven't used BitGravity ( a tremendous amount yet, but one of the reasons that we like them for distribution is that they have a really fast play." Liz Stephans adds, "I know that Blip ( is also really fast. I think that they actually put your video up while they continue to convert it, so I think you get a pretty quick turnaround there."

Baker also likes Revver ( for its speed. "But Revver says that they require human approval, that there is an actual person who will have to clear that video, and some of the other hosting sites have that step as well." As a way of offsetting the site's costs, Revver does typically insert an ad for another video or Web site at the end of each clip, which may or may not be an issue for your project.

In contrast, Stephans says, "We like Google Video, and we've put things on there that have done well, but it takes a while" for a clip to be added to the site. Google also lacks the ability to add chapters to its content, unlike sites such as Motionbox ( However, for those who wish to aim content at a marketplace that may not have broadband, Google Video's download video option may be a plus.

READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE by Edward B. Driscoll, Jr.
(c) 2007, MediaBatch. All Rights Reserved.


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