Sunday, March 29, 2009

Internet Video Distribution

Everyone’s talking about it, and many organizations are doing it, but most people don’t have all the information to execute online video distribution. Does it mean we put our video on our front page? Does it play automatically? How do we get people to see it? Will they watch online? What are the technical requirements to distribute video online? Do we have to keep making new videos all the time? What does it mean to “go viral,” and how do we do that?

Here’s the truth of the matter. Nobody has all of the answers to all of the questions regarding online distribution. At least no single person has them all yet. And by the time the answers seem to be more apparent, the questions will change. Everything was on YouTube for a while, and that continues to be a central focal point, but then Facebook and social networking seemed to become the lynchpin of any attempt to “go viral.” Media players and their technology keep changing. Several years ago Real Player was in the lead, then Windows Media, and now Flash delivery.

I think we’re all learning the positives and negatives of the rapidly evolving world of maintaining an online presence and trying to keep up with viewer expectations. The pitfalls of implementation are many, but the issues of never implementing are greater. Gone are the days when non profit organizations could be two to three years behind the corporate world in the adoption of technology. Two or three months can cause viewer and supporter fatigue. But how can an organization with limited funds for marketing and outreach keep up? Video production is frequently out of the price range entirely, let alone ongoing production.

We are constantly exploring new distribution outlets and learning new ways to implement them and simplify their workflow for our clients and ourselves. The goal line is constantly moving in online content delivery, but we continue to follow that progress so our clients don’t have too. But frequently our clients teach us new outlets and workflows. Its this collaborative conversation that is keeping the world of online video exciting for us.

There will be future posts that outline how we have overcome some of the problems and questions raised in this article. Many of you will help us write the proposed solutions, and we look forward to that exchange.