Teaching Examples

Why is online video exploding?
July 16, 2006, 1:17 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

The obvious answer is that broadband access has expanded rapidly and exponentially.

Another large factor is consumer production and video sharing.

And then there’s Flash.

After all the years of struggling with (and cursing at) poorly functioning player technologies such as Real Video, the online masses finally have a player that just works properly: the Flash player. Flash couldn’t always “do video,” but video playback has been integrated into the player for about three years now. The current version of the authoring application, Flash 8, made huge strides toward better online video handling.

Peter Fader, a marketing professor at the University of Pennsylvania, recognizes the role of Flash in the growth of online video:

the addition of video playback to Adobe System’s ubiquitous Flash Player … has helped online video explode. The Flash software, bundled with all the major web browsers, allows rich media to be displayed on the web without requiring a separate media player. “I don’t think people fully appreciate the transformation Flash has created,” says Fader. “I usually don’t like to put technology on a pedestal, but Flash means you can see video without waiting.”

There’s a lot more from Fader and several other analysts in an article at the Wharton site: Online Video: The Market Is Hot, but Business Models Are Fuzzy. (Found via John Dowdell and Michal Migurski.)

Recently I have heard from people in the online operations at a few newspapers that they don’t have Flash at all, or have a very old copy of the Flash application. It’s true that Flash is not cheap: retail U.S. $699 (naturally, the education price is far lower).

It seems to me that online news operations that fail to train staff in Flash — and fail to provide sufficient licenses to the application, so that enough producers can create Flash video and other content — are missing yet another boat headed to the sea of online success. If the organization isn’t supplying the tools and the training, then it won’t have the content that people are interested in.

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4 Comments so far
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Sorensen Squeeze is the bomb for Flash video too. And if you’re just looking for something to trim and compress video (especially in batches), it’s much cheaper than Flash at $129. http://www.sorensonmedia.com/solutions/prod/mx_win.php

Now, you will need a Flash player of some sort, so at some point you or someone on your staff or within your company has to have the Flash app to do that initial framework (or there are many freeware Flash players).

Once that’s set up Sorensen really rocks, especially for a news organization working on a daily production cycle.

Comment by Will Sullivan

In addition to Squeeze, there is also On2 video, which Flash 8 incorporated.

Comment by Mindy McAdams

I also think newspapers should invest more in the correct implementation of Flash on their sites.

Flash is a fantastic tool — like JavaScript — if used in the right way.

Often, I find many sites that simply push projects that could have been done better, and certainly more accessible, without Flash.

Comment by Patrick Beeson

I don’t mean to throw a wet towel on your Flash love fest in this regard, but I read an interesting and related post over on O’Reilly Digital Media the same day you wrote this.

Flash is not necessarily the killer app in this regard. Bandwidth is a major factor. Or, “It’s the bandwidth, damn it!”

And don’t forget that just about every computer sold in the last two-to-three years has come with video-editing software and the hardware horsepower to use it.

I also disagree with the statement that Flash “does not require an external player.” It may be nearly ubiquitous, but the Flash “player” still is one.

I could argue that QuickTime and even Windows Media videos both cost less to implement than Flash, but I’ll leave that for another time.

Comment by Craig

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