Monday, January 30, 2006

Video downloads with advertising

Is this the future of TV? have a web site which allows you to upload a digital video. They then add an advertisement to the end and make the video available. The video is in Apple Quicktime format and includes code to track how many times it is played. The advertiser is charged for each playing of the video and the provider receives a share of the royalties. That is the theory.

My first attempt is a short clip of a Bollywood style dance spectacular recorded using a camera phone in India:

The video is very low quality, not helped by conversion to Quicktime. There is a nasty buzz at the end just before the ad comes on (this wasn't in the original video). The ads don't seem to be hard coded in the video, but downloaded and change (much like Google Adsense ads on web pages).

As I did with Google AdSense, I signed up for the service to see how it works (not expecting to make much money out of it. Revver has a signup process similar to other on-line ecommerce services. They use PayPal for payments. You then upload a video file in just about any format, supplying some descriptive material with it.

The web upload worked smoothly for the very small 70kbyte 3GP (camera phone video) file I used. There are specialized upload programs you can download from Revver to speed up the process for larger videos. The problem I had, similar to that experienced with Google Books, was working out the exact status of my uploaded file. Thinking the upload had not worked I tried several times and ended up with multiple copies. As with Google Books, after a week or so I got a mail message to say my file was ready to go online (there seems to be some human checking in the process initially).

The major problem I had was with blocking inappropriate advertisements. As with Google AdSense, you can block specific advertisers from advertising with your content. Unlike AdSense, there are also some generic categories you can block, such as adult material and fast food. However, as many times as I clicked the boxes to block these, Revver seemed to ignore my entries and record no restrictions. But so far the only ad is an inoffensive one for t-shirts.

Unlike AdSense, which only allows advertisements on your own web site, Revver provides their own web site for the content and you can also distribute the videos by email.

Exactly how acceptable the ads are and how much revenue is generated, is yet to be seen. If this format works, it could be used for an Internet based DIY TV service.

Apple Quicktime includes slideshow and SMIL miltimedia. If these are supported by Revver, it should be possible to produce very entertaining and educational material which is very bandwidth efficient.

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