I just got a sneak peek at a video sharing site due to launch in September, called Viddler. The company has focused on making the video publishing experience compelling and enabling discussion, tagging and sharing tied to particular moments in time. It’s a good looking system with smart features and a viable business model.
Company lead Robert Sandie lives today in Bethlehem, PA but has a background managing Adobe flash servers for enterprise clients. The distributed team is made up of designers Andrew Smith and Chris Tingom in Arizona and developers Lukasz Hankus and Kasper Cecek in Poland. The vision for the product is deeply inspired by Flickr and it shows. The business model, for one thing, will be driven not by pageviews and advertising but by subscription for premium features. I think that’s smart. The premium features will be announced later, but they look good.
The keystone feature here is the ability to add tags and comments tied to particular points in a video. Those tags are then searchable, so if I want to find the particular point in one of my videos that I tagged “touchdown,” that’s easy to do. I can also have a conversation with other users regarding a particular moment in a video and choose to embed the video on another site in it’s entirety or only from a particular point I select. While users can link to particular points in a Google Video as of last month, that’s easier and is just the beginning in Viddler.
Multiple videos can be uploaded at once and upload doesn’t pause your work in the interface. Videos are served as streaming files, so they can’t be downloaded and will thus be preserved from copyright violation.
Different services are trying different things to really harness the dialogue that video sharing makes possible; I think that Viddler’s focus on time specific interaction could prove both easy and enjoyable for a wide variety of video publishers and viewers. The interface is appealing and if the forthcoming premium features are as well put together as the preview of the basic service I saw today – Viddler’s future could look good.
Online video sharing is obviously a very crowded space, but I think there is plenty of room and time for new players to establish themselves. While Viddler isn’t about downloading video, the fact that Pew estimated last year that only a quarter of US internet users were downloading music or video indicates to me that very few are uploading video yet and the market has lots of room to grow. See also our review of many players in the market last December (“Comparing the Flickrs of Video“). There really are a lot of video services launching, but surely there’s room for more than a handful to come up with a winning strategy.
Viddler will launch in September but you can visit their site and sign up for notification of the launch today.