video monetization
Sparkeo

Sparkeo's video platform could make your knowledge pay off – invites

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Today is Safer Internet Day in Europe, but before you laugh try this game

[France/Israel] Sparkeo places its bets on advanced visual learning, offering a portable video platform specifically designed for experts from any field to create, distribute and monetize their expertise online. Why? Frederic Aknin, Spakeo’s CEO, argues for the need for simple video monetization to enable people to sell their knowledge on the Web. “Currently, the highest quality end content is not online since the experts have no motivation to give it away,” he says. And I guess he’s right.

We recently covered Sofatutor, also playing in the online education field out of Germany. The big difference between Sparkeo and other how-to and expertise video portals (ie. MindbitesSclipo, Edufire) , is that Sparkeo is not a portal, but rather a stand alone video player that users can embed anywhere, bringing their paying audience and students to any site, blog or major social network of their choice.

This allows for much more marketing control and flexible distribution of the expert’s video courses. Payment is portable and need not take place on the Sparkeo site, but rather right through the player itself, anywhere it’s embedded. You’re directed to a PayPal payment, then to the Sparkeo site. You don’t need to be a Sparkeo user to make a purchase, but once you make one, you’re automatically registered and can access all and any of the courses you’ve purchased in the past.  Essentially, once you’re a user, you can login to the player and not just the site, accessing your courses anywhere.

But Sparkeo is not only a flexible video platform, but more notably an enhanced video learning platform, that brings the expert and his student closer together. The video player provides a number of tools students who’ve purchased course access.  Users can highlight parts of video and make annotations, as well as ask the instructor questions, which s/he can respond to directly to the users mailbox.

On the instructor side, benefits are compiled into a dashboard that helps manage each course’s interaction, previews, highlights and number of sales.  The business model is quite simple, either 30% revenue share (a bit high?), premium prices for bandwidth usage over 500mg or customization for corporate clients. Soon Sparkeo will allow for player customization to match the look and feel of the site where it’s embedded.

Sparkeo is currently in a closed beta, but we’ve secured 100 beta invites for Techcrunch Europe readers. For your early beta access, type in “tceurope” in the beta invitation code field and you’re all set.  Be sure to leave Sparkeo your comments.

  • http://twilighthouse.com Olivier de Broqueville

    Sounds interesting, but knowledge should be free. Wouldn’t it be a better idea to have ads playing at the beginning or in the middle of the videos?

    • http://www.sparkeo.com Talia from Sparkeo

      Thanks for the great write up!

      Olivier: You make a valid point – video ads are definitely a possibility. There are several problems with video ads, however:

      1) Ads at any point of the video have a very low income unless you have a massive audience.
      2) Ads in the middle of a video interrupt the viewer’s thoughts and learning experiences. When you read a book, or watch a movie in a theatre, your experience isn’t interrupted by advertising – why should online learning be different?

      Our goals are Sparkeo are two-fold: First, we want to give experts a *new* way to monetize on their knowledge. Second, we’d like to make the learning experience as interactive and effective as possible for the users.

      For these reasons, we developed a different type of platform. A video player with extra features, such as highlighting and direct contact with the expert, and a payment platform for experts that takes the hassle out of building a system yourself, including hosting through Sparkeo.

      As for knowledge being free, I agree completely. You can find almost anything on the Web and teach yourself. But truly in-depth information is very hard to find, especially quality material. It’s not because the experts aren’t out there (because they are). We believe that if there are enough financial incentives, in-depth, quality content will be at everyone’s fingertips.

      As someone whose thirst of knowledge far outweighs the time she has to learn, I can honestly say that many people will be willing to pay for information and knowledge, as long as it gives them something extra that they can’t find somewhere else.

      Here’s an example: Many famous bloggers, such as Chris Brogan, constantly publish blog posts about their specialty topic. Yet they also publish books offline (Trust Agents, a New York Times best seller, in his case), and the book is clearly not free, showing that people are willing to pay for something extra.

      I wouldn’t necessarily pay for a 5 min course about writing a business proposal because I can find that information on many websites, both video sites and text blogs, and that information can be great. But I would definitely pay for a half hour course that not only tells me *what* to do, but *why* I should be doing it that way. I think that’s the essence of learning. Not memorization, but truly understanding what you learn, and that, oftentimes, cannot be learned in a 5-minute video.

  • http://www.kirstenwinkler.com Kirsten Winkler

    Ads don’t cover the costs of a well made video. Especially when you do videos about topics that are not related to insurances ;).

    Honestly, I think this is a good idea. Sparkeo suggests 20 to 30 minutes at least. This is equal to a regular 1 hour lesson as only the teacher is talking.

    So if you take the regular prices for online lessons right now and take into consideration that you can resell the content in the video over and over again you end up with a reasonable price of $1.99 to maybe $4.99 per video.

    Will be interesting to see what kind of teachers will sign up there.

  • Alan

    Incredible idea…

  • Orly

    I think this is what technology is really about. It’s a creative way to make learning and teaching interesting and productive.

  • http://www.kirstenwinkler.com/sparkeo-helps-educators-to-monetize-on-their-videos/ Sparkeo helps Educators to Monetize on their Videos | Kirsten Winkler

    […] I read about a very interesting start up in online education on TechCrunch Europe called Sparkeo. As TC was offering 100 beta invites I grabbed one immediately and signed up for […]

  • http://www.linnovate.net Lior

    I think that the cool thing about this is the ability for a “smalltime” content creator to monetize some of her work without building huge infrastructure to market and sell it.
    This way they split the revenue (which she never made till now).
    Think about Guitar teachers/Investment consultant or a baseball coach that teaches good form and can record a session which communicates it.
    If this can be useful to those creators it would make perfect sense to use and embed it on a simple blog.(without the whole webdev festival that a “smalltime” content producer would need to get to same results himself

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    […] that takes place each year in Paris) and generated buzz when it was recently featured on Techcrunch and other […]

  • http://www.ravendevelopers.in/sparkeo-promoting-and-monetizing-video-through-drupal-and-kaltura/ Sparkeo – Promoting and Monetizing Video through Drupal and Kaltura | Raven Developers

    […] that takes place each year in Paris) and generated buzz when it was recently featured on Techcrunch and other […]

  • http://www.webhostingcomplex.com/2010/05/24/sparkeo-promoting-and-monetizing-video-through-drupal-and-kaltura/ Sparkeo – Promoting and Monetizing Video through Drupal and Kaltura | Web Hosting Complex

    […] that takes place each year in Paris) and generated buzz when it was recently featured on Techcrunch and other […]

  • http://www.development-drupal.com/sparkeo-promoting-and-monetizing-video-through-drupal-and-kaltura/ Sparkeo – Promoting and Monetizing Video through Drupal and Kaltura | Development Drupal

    […] that takes place each year in Paris) and generated buzz when it was recently featured on Techcrunch and other […]

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