Mark R Lindsey

Video On the Internet — Keeping it available for the long term

In Uncategorized on June 19, 2010 at 10:15 pm

My old college friend, Dan Griffin, recently mentioned he was reading
a book by Dan Ariely, “Predictably Irrational”. I got to hear Dr
Ariely speak at a marketing event back in 2006, and I knew the videos
were online back then.

So I found the October 2006 Email from the event's producer,
BroadSoft, where they gave us the link to the Ariely speech. It was
good that the URL was in an email. I was concerned that the URL would
be hidden in the password-protected event web site. Unfortunately,
that event web site was gone.

But the video link actually worked! Sort of: the web site is still
there, so the streaming-hosting company is still in business.

The Flash-based player still was there; it popped up in my browser
window with play, pause, rewind and fast-forward buttons.

But, alas, the video wasn't there. No Dan Ariely to tell us about
tricks they played on students in college campus experiments.

So what went wrong?

— Broadsoft reorganized their web site so the old URL died. They
didn't recognize that a published URL should be a permanent thing,
like the title of a book.

— The video died because the video hosting company reorganized or
Broadsoft canceled their service.

But what if you did want video to be available for the long term?

— Logins break things: Make the video as free as possible. Username/
password schemes make the resource even more fragile.

— Hosting providers die and lose all their content: Don't bind the
video to a streaming player. Yes, the web-browser players are handy,
but H.264 and other formats can be played back while they download.
(This is the HTML5 approach.)

— Get it hosted and replicated as much as possible by releasing the
video file itself. Use FILE hosting Consider, for example, releasing
it through Apple iTunes.

— Do post the video on a streaming provider like Youtube or Vimeo,
but only for convenience, and not for archiving.

  1. Amazing. I just bought that book three days ago.

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