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Video on Demand.... how to?

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Todd Terry
Video on Demand.... how to?
on Apr 17, 2016 at 5:20:24 am

Hello Cow friends:

There are likely more appropriate forums on the COW for this question, but I thought I'd ask my friends in here first....

I've always heard that you should never go into business with relatives... but I'm thinking of bucking that advice and joining with my sister on a project.

My sister is extraordinarily gifted in one particular realm. Well, I can't really think of any reason to keep it a secret, it's the art of calligraphy (in addition to her deadly accurate impersonation of Holly Hunter in "Raising Arizona," which is, unfortunately, her natural southern voice). She has not quite risen to the level of Master Penman yet (of which there are only 14 in the world), but she's up there. When not hand-addressing scads of invitations and such for bridezillas with waaay too much money, she's in high demand as a teacher, has tens of thousands of social media followers, conducts popular workshops, and has just been invited to join the faculty of the International Calligraphy Conference.

This is one of those worlds that most of us don't even know exists.

Anyway, we are considering joining forces to create some videos, on-line lessons available (for a fee, naturally) on her website. Some of these already exist elsewhere and are surprisingly apparently quite popular... but from what we've seen the content is a bit lacking and by and large the production quality is veeery poor. She'd handle the pen-and-ink side, obviously, with our company doing everything else.

Production, marketing, web... all of that stuff I can handle in my sleep. But distribution, Video on Demand and such, is an area where I'm totally ignorant. I've spent the last 25 years producing content almost exclusively for broadcast television, so my knowledge of on-line distribution is pretty much limited to how to put our portfolio videos on YouTube.

Anyone have any advice? Are there vendors that will turn-key handle the VOD portion of one's website? Any recommendations? I would assume that such a company also handles customers/sign-ups/billing and all that jazz... but it's just an assumption. Maybe they don't do that at all.

I hate being ignorant, but am definitely willing to admit when I am.

Any advice or pointers to the direction I need to go would be most appreciated.

Thanks!

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Mark Suszko
Re: Video on Demand.... how to?
on Apr 18, 2016 at 1:57:45 am

Amazon is one such, I believe.


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Ned Miller
Re: Video on Demand.... how to?
on Apr 18, 2016 at 2:34:38 pm

Are you talking about a paid portal to view the videos, ala Lynda? Monetizing the video?

Ned Miller
Chicago Videographer
http://www.nedmiller.com
www,bizvideo.com


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Todd Terry
Re: Video on Demand.... how to?
on Apr 18, 2016 at 2:41:07 pm

Well we are just in the beginnings of figuring out what all it needs to be... but...

We are basically talking about embedded videos on her own website that viewers have to pay to watch. Either such that a viewer pays for a specific video, and then has access to view it for a set period of time (say, 30 or 60 days). Or... in another potential scenario maybe they become a "member" of the site and have access to all available videos... again, for a specific membership duration.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Ned Miller
Re: Video on Demand.... how to?
on Apr 18, 2016 at 7:52:02 pm

OK, I will ask around. My wife is a master level weaver and knitter and I know that she belongs to a lot of sites like your sister is proposing. Basically how-tos but what brings them in is a sense of community, kindred hearts.

I can't imagine people wanting to pay per video, most business models I've seen is you submit your credit card for a monthly/annual membership and have total access to the videos. Your sister must prepare herself that a certain percentage of scum bags will rip the video, perhaps pass it around to friends. In sum, I'll ask my wife and then forward you the links.

Ned Miller
Chicago Videographer
http://www.nedmiller.com
www,bizvideo.com


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Todd Terry
Re: Video on Demand.... how to?
on Apr 18, 2016 at 8:55:46 pm

Thanks, Ned.

I've been trying to educate myself about it. Some is pretty straightforward, some is a little overwhelming.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Ned Miller
Re: Video on Demand.... how to?
on Apr 18, 2016 at 9:40:02 pm
Last Edited By Ned Miller on Apr 18, 2016 at 9:43:52 pm

I described to my wife what your sister wants to do in terms of membership fee and watching videos, and she said for you to check out these two, perhaps contact them:

http://www.craftsy.com

creativebug.com

The latter has great, hip videos. I sometimes watch them just to absorb the style. I have a good friend who did my last website but now specializes in
e-commerce in case you'd like to talk with him about setting up the credit card portion.

Lastly, I think calligraphy, knowing how damn slow it goes, would be the perfect candidate for aiming straight down time lapse.

Ned Miller
Chicago Videographer
http://www.nedmiller.com
www,bizvideo.com


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Todd Terry
Re: Video on Demand.... how to?
on Apr 18, 2016 at 9:45:39 pm

Thanks Ned, I'll give those a lot.

I've looked at a dozen or so VOD platform providers today, I don't think I've seen either of those yet, though.

Thanks!

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Ned Miller
Re: Video on Demand.... how to?
on Apr 19, 2016 at 6:05:02 pm

Has your sister done her due diligence?

Ned Miller
Chicago Videographer
http://www.nedmiller.com


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Todd Terry
Re: Video on Demand.... how to?
on Apr 19, 2016 at 6:55:20 pm

Should be taken care of.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Ned Miller
Re: Video on Demand.... how to?
on Apr 22, 2016 at 6:38:57 pm

Hi Terry,

I hope you're in Scotland now enjoying the curved slider.

I had a meeting with my buddy who formerly was my web guy, but has moved onto greener pastures specializing in e-commerce for web sites. I asked him if he would consult hourly with you and your sister and he doesn't do such "little" engagements anymore but from what I described that your sister wants, here's the take-away:

First, he doesn't know of any turn key services that provide that but he said you're needing a CDN (Content Delivery Network) which provides a video vault so only subscribers paying a recurring fee have access through their log in, meaning a database has to be set up. He does this for large companies so he figures there's so little revenue in calligraphy it would be too expensive.

His suggestion is to produce many short teaser videos for free viewing on YouTube which will then drive curious viewers to your sister's site where she can sell hard copy DVDs. My wife, against my wishes, buys a lot of these types of tutorial DVDs of the experts in her hobbies. I figure the reason they are using DVD instead of web viewing is that they can control the situation? Plus the cost of setting up a mom & pop CDN. Once on the web anyone with skills can download it, get around the paid access control.

Ned Miller
Chicago Videographer
http://www.nedmiller.com


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Todd Terry
Re: Video on Demand.... how to?
on Apr 22, 2016 at 7:29:11 pm

Thanks Ned... I appreciate you checking with your friend.

The Scotland trip is over, and by the way the slider sailed through customs both ways without even a second look. Much thanks to fellow COW Tom Sefton for arranging all the other gear rental and crew there.

As for VOD...

I was woefully uneducated about the process when I first asked... I have since done a fair bit of research and self-education about it.

As it turns out, outfits that offer VOD services are fairly plentiful, almost too many to choose from, in fact... and they run the gamut from cheap to expensive, really easy to implement to not-quite-as-easy. Some offer payment gateways to easily take credit cards from viewers, some don't. Some offer fairly robust DRM, some don't. Most have options that allow you to control viewers, customers who only want to pay to watch one video, or a subscription that allows you to watch everything... either for a set period of time, or in perpetuity.

I think we have found two or three different vendors that do all of what we need at reasonable cost.

Despite your friend's suggestion, I'm pretty sure we definitely don't want to go the DVD route. The idea is to get people on the hook for continuing subscriptions, as it will take a while for us to roll out content. Creating a new lesson once every week or two is doable... creating a couple of years' worth all at one whack to release on DVDs would be daunting, and take us a long time to get started. Some of the companies offer very robust DRM, but even then some degree of piracy is the part of the price of admission, I think. I guess you just have to hope that it isn't an unpleasantly high percentage.

I think your wife might be an anomaly with her voluminous how-to DVD purchases. Do people on the consumer level even use DVDs anymore? I'd be interested in hearing opinions on that. Instructional material like this seems, at least to me, to lend itself much more to a streaming audience. I know personally I have three, maybe four, DVD and Blu-ray players at home and I can't even recall the last time any of them even had a disc in them (at best, they are used as Netflix portals). On the other, I watch how-tos online all the time (I most recently learned how to replace the agitator dogs on my washing machine... a part that I didn't even know existed but watched a video about thanks to a guy who was amazingly dexterous enough to do with one hand while recording on his phone with the other). I definitely could be wrong about that, though, DVDs might live.

Appreciate you asking....

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Ned Miller
Re: Video on Demand.... how to?
on Apr 22, 2016 at 11:14:48 pm

I asked my wife why she decides to buy a DVD rather than just stream and she said that when she has the DVD she is not beholden to the recurring monthly fees, so I think knowing the demographics's buying behavior is key. Also, she has a collector's mentality to wanting to "own" a nice looking DVD, like a book. Maybe it's generational? With something like her knitting and weaving, where you have to see tiny detail, perhaps the DVD on a large TV screen gives her better detail? Oh, she's a pack rat so that plays into owning.

I tried to get rich quick (didn’t work out as you see) producing and selling what was in the 80's & 90's called Special Interest videos. In fact, Blockbuster had a section by that name. I used to belong to SIVA. The titles usually started out with the two words, "How To. Mainly with an expert to host for ego and a slice. Sometimes I had partners, other times I went solo. I learned a lot and the most important the take away:

PEOPLE WILL NOT SPEND FOR SOMETHING THEY CAN GET FOR FREE.

Ned Miller
Chicago Videographer
http://www.nedmiller.com


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Ned Miller
Re: Video on Demand.... how to?
on Apr 23, 2016 at 12:48:16 pm

Here Terry is an example of one, my wife got an email to join this morning. Lots of videos:

https://www.craftdaily.com/?utm_source=linkconnector&utm_medium=affiliate

"A division of F+W A Content + eCommerce Company"...Looks like a big, deep pockets company. Betcha they have an in-house video studio:

http://www.fwcommunity.com/our-executive-committee

The COO was the head kahuna at a big biz trade press company.

Ned Miller
Chicago Videographer
http://www.nedmiller.com


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Rich Rubasch
Re: Video on Demand.... how to?
on Apr 25, 2016 at 2:49:28 pm

Vimeo offers a pay per play model that is pretty low cost of entry. Might check into that too.

Rich Rubasch
Tilt Media Inc.
Video Production, Post, Studio Sound Stage
Founder/President/Editor/Designer/Animator
http://www.tiltmedia.com


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Todd Terry
Re: Video on Demand.... how to?
on Apr 25, 2016 at 4:21:10 pm

They do indeed, Rich... that was actually one of the first ones I looked it.

It looks pretty good, my only real bone of contention with them is that they are "revenue split" only... I'd personally prefer a provider that I can just pay a (reasonable) monthly fee to and not split revenues. At least they have one of the lower splits, although I do find their little infographic to be wildly and somewhat amusingly visually misleading....




Their split is actually 90/10, although the graphic at least visually gives the impression of a fair bit less. Some of the places are 70/30 though, and I think I saw one that was even higher.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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