Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Friday, November 23, 2007

RSS Video Feeds - Open Video Distribution via RSS - Separate Hosting From Viewing

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Why should I make a video RSS feed? What makes open video so much better? Isn't enough to publish my video online and allow people to watch it from my blog or directly from Youtube?

Image editing: Robin Good - Photo credit: Techno

If you are curious to learn more about the key advantages that distributing your video content via RSS may bring about, here is a good starting point. Nicholas Reville, Executive Director of the Participatory Culture Foundation has recently written this excellent introductory guide to understanding video distribution via RSS.

In it, he outlines the key benefits that will become available to any online video content publisher utilizing RSS for video delivery.

Here is why RSS video distribution is the way to go for all online independent publishers:

1) Quality


With video RSS and BitTorrent support you can deliver HD quality videos that simply can't be streamed on the web.

For well-produced content or more thoughtful video, TV quality or higher resolution means people will actually want to lean back and watch a show.

Anything longer than a 5 minute clip starts to gets tedious in a web page.

2) Compatibility


The beauty of an open standard like video RSS is that you make it once and it works with any feed reader. Any feed that works in iTunes (a "video podcast") will also work in Miro and other RSS players.

3) Choice


As TV moves online, we all have a chance to make a system that's more open and democratic than ever. There's no reason that internet TV should continue to be controlled by a small number of corporations. We can do a lot better.

A video RSS feed gives you the freedom to use any video hosting setup and gives your viewers the freedom to watch your videos from any video RSS reader.

Video Creators -- no matter who you are, Open Video works to your advantage

a) Are You a Big, Well-Funded Creator?


Content companies and other well-funded or traditional-media creators want to reach as many eyeballs as possible. If you want to reach the most serious and most engaged viewing audience, you need a video RSS feed.

Even the largest broadcast networks like NBC or CBS are vulnerable if their primary distribution platform is proprietary. Apple's influence in the music industry is a great example: because of the locked down nature of the iPod and iTunes, they have an unprecedented amount of control over how major record labels sell their music.

b) Are You an Independent Professional Creator?


If closed systems like Comcast or Joost prevail, creators will be held hostage to those distribution systems.

Independent creators are particularly at risk of getting locked in to one company's business model.

In contrast, video RSS lets creators publish in an open way to any video RSS player. This is why for independent content, it is absolutely vital that you don't end up with closed, proprietary systems and distribution monopolies.

c) Are You an Amateur or Personal Creator?


There are a lot of free video sites that provide free hosting and will even help creators put ads on their videos.

This competition is wonderful: it expands choice, improves the kinds of offers that hosting sites provide, and gives creators the freedom to publish the way they want to. However, this competition is being threatened by the near-monopoly of YouTube -- it doesn't matter if or Revver or Vimeo offer things you like if you can't reach your audience that way. To bring back freedom and competition, we need to separate the hosting site from the viewing site.

With a video RSS player, viewers are the place where video is aggregated. They can watch feeds from YouTube, Blip, Revver, personal websites, and any other video host, all in one place. To the viewer, the hosting site should be irrelevant: when you want to visit a website you never have to figure out who hosts the site. Video should be the same.

To preserve choice and flexibility for creators, it is crucial that video RSS be at the center of internet video.

d) Video Hosting Services -- Level the Playing Field


Are you a video hosting service?

Unless you're YouTube, you don't want to see one site monopolize video hosting. Ebay's rise shows exactly what happens to competitors when a network effect gets so strong that all sellers (in this case, creators) and all buyers (viewers) are forced to use a single dominant website. The way to create competition in video hosting is to separate the viewing from the hosting using open standards.

Video RSS is an excellent way to do this-- you can offer a very high-quality experience to your users and you can syndicate your content our to many different viewing platforms.

For smaller hosting companies, the same arguments apply, but more so. A small site may offer excellent services, but is less likely to be a destination for viewers. Therefore, when a user does come to your site, a video RSS feed is a great way to get them subscribed to your content. Subscribing viewers lets you build an ongoing relationship and gives people an easy way to share your content.

e) Viewers -- Exchange your Rose-Colored Glasses Today


Do you watch videos with your computer?

There's a lot of exciting video on YouTube, but imagine having every video sharing site on the internet available from a single location.

Video RSS feeds let you bring together video from any host. You get more diverse content and a freer media world. You also get HD-quality video, no streaming delays, and, most of all, a system that puts you in control.

Open standards always work better for the customer. It's that simple.

Originally written by Nicholas Reville for Miro and entitled "Why Openness Matters for Online Video". Miro is the leading open-source video RSS player and aggregator.

Download Miro and see open video in action, at

Photo credits:
Quality: Araminta
Choice: Sulio
Rose-colored glasses: Karin Lau

Nicholas Reville -
Reference: Miro [ Read more ]
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posted by Robin Good on Friday, November 23 2007, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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