Tuesday, July 07, 2009

"Free" Isn't Really Free ... Certainly Not With Video Publishing Platforms

Chris Anderson, Editor of "Wired" and author of "The Long Tail" (among other things), and Malcolm Gladwell, author of "Outliers", "Blink", and "The Tipping Point" (among other things), recently have debated the concept of "free." The ultimate question is, "Is 'free" really free?"

In the video publishing platform space, the answer is an absolute "no", "nyet", "nada."

So-called "free" video publishing platforms have significant costs and simply are not real options for video professionals. They are, at best, consumer grade for a number of critical reasons:

(1) first and foremost, quality of video -- compare Youtube videos with videos encoded using Sorenson Squeeze and published into Sorenson 360 (I recently blogged about the critical, yet oft-overlooked, nature of encoding to the issue of quality);

(2) control #1 -- video professionals want to encode videos the way they want to (and client-side encoding which is featured in Squeeze is completely different from server-side encoding used in all other video publishing platforms, include "free" services like Youtube);

(3) control #2 -- video professionals simply don't want their videos to be featured next to dancing cats ... or worse ...;

(4) ads -- services like Youtube, of course, must monetize in some manner, and this usually is in the form of invasive ads; and

(5) stability/trust -- many so-called "free" services are offered by companies that simply will not make it due to the fact that they can't support their cost structures; so, "free" frequently suffers from the real-world problems of stability and trust -- can (and should) you trust your prized video assets with a service that may disappear tomorrow?

Look around you with respect to any "free" service -- the question is not whether something is free or not. The real question is what costs are you willing to bear in your specific circumstances.