MD at LTS Media Ltd.
15 April 2008 21:41pm
The new streaming technology and new ways of accessing large movie files via the internet has brought exciting changes to industries and end consumers. But what are the obstacles a small business can face when planning to expand into digital distribution via streaming technology? What can be done to make this new technology more affordable to smaller entities? This article will help you to get an insight into important aspects of how to save costs when setting up a streaming web site.
Setting up a Video On Demand website requires a technical understanding of the streaming technology involved and having dealt with the old school ways of doing distribution, rest assured that a natural resistance towards technology will arise. Aspects such as streaming technology, content delivery network, media file encoding, encryption, digital rights management, payment solution, online royalty reporting, streaming costs (welcome to the world of megabytes and megabits) and different technical parts of the website - all this seems to turn your project into rocket science. Many have given up half way through. As a result, most companies entrusts specialist providers to lead the sophisticated task of providing streaming technology to their services. In this article, we list some important aspects of what to do in order cut costs.
1. Finding the right Streaming Provider
In order to run a highly sophisticated streaming website with full business integrity you will have to team up with a specialist streaming provider who operates a Content Delivery Network. This is, in short terms, server rack space combined with Windows Media Streaming software ensuring that your content is being delivered to the end consumer as well as hosting your content. If you do your research properly, you will realise a huge pricing difference in streaming and hosting costs offered by various providers. In addition, a lot of companies do charge set-up costs as well as insisting that you also use their media file encoding service which can come as a very high cost. Avoid this. In addition, the development and programming of the website and the connectors can turn into a very costly affair when leaving this to a streaming specialist provider. Parts of it are unavoidable; a lot can be done for much less costs if you are willing to source this in-house.
2. Media File Encoding
Speaking from experience in dealing with clients, the encoding of a media file seems to cause a great deal of confusion. If you are, for example, a medium sized film production/film distribution company eyeing the prospect of setting up a Video On Demand site, take control of the file conversation in-house. It is anything but rocket science. Depending on the volume of titles you wish to offer, all it needs is a few PCs, enough DVD drives and affordable software which enables you to convert your movies into any file you want at any bit rate you want plus the possibility to set scene selections plus much more. Supply your streaming provider with all files in the format requested and you can safe a lot of money.
3. Digital Rights Management
DRM is already pre-provided in most server solutions but be aware that a lot of companies charge you extra for this and make it sound a bigger deal than it actually is. For example: Windows media server has DRM build in and all you need is a third party script or a VB.net script that sits between your web application and your Windows Media server to check if a client has paid and if the session is still valid. A good solution for this is a combination between Windows Media server, Hoyasoft and Aqua CMS. Do your research, it will pay off.
4. Web Development & Payment Solutions
Does your streaming provider offer the payment solutions you wish to offer your customers, such as Pay Per View and Pay Per Minute? Don't be surprised to find specialist providers who offer you the best content deliver network and streaming services but cannot provide the payment solution you desire. Some might only be able to offer downloads and Pay Per View but you also want Pay Per Minute. Some are not in a position to offer any payment solution but offer to develop this for you for costs which can easily exceed your budged. Again, look at content management solutions such as PHP Nuke, Aqua CMS and Mumbo. You will often find that they have these payment modules (Pay Per View, Pay Per Minute) pre-build.
5. Last but not least - Are you brave enough to build it all?
If you are lucky and you have a very experienced friend/colleque from the web development world with enough time and enthusiasm at hand, you can go all the way on your own. Before you start, look at content management solutions, they are often overlooked and often supply pre-built expansions that can meet your requirements. This can reduce your development costs dramatically. If you are willing to invest, you can buy your own streaming servers and just get rack space with hosting companies that offer streaming bandwidth (Do your research and you will realise that most streaming providers use third party facilities which you can perfectly use as well). You can safe tens of thousands of pounds as well as reducing your running costs to a minimum.
For more information:Ben RecknagelManaging DirectorLTS Media Ltd.6 Water LaneLondon NW1 8NZPh: 0845 257 firstname.lastname@example.org://www.thestreamingmonkey.comhttp://www.aquacms.net
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