Nicholas Renville on why RSS is better for a truly participative online videosphere, part two

We continue with excerpts on Nicholas Renville’s views on what is needed for an open video infrastructure. Here he argues that online feeds are better than websites.

Nicholas Renville:

How do you avoid a world where YouTube is the arbiter of all video content? You do it by centering the video experience around viewers rather than around video hosting companies. That’s not what the venture capitalists want, but blogs aren’t what they wanted either (they wanted web portals).

Putting viewers at the center means giving everyone who wants to watch video a homebase where they can access videos from any hosting service or website. For miscellaneous videos, like the ones that have made YouTube so popular, this means a search engine that gives results from any service and let’s you watch what you find without jumping around from site to site.

For more serious videos– stuff that’s produced by known creators on a regular basis (like a daily or weekly show)– the best homebase is an RSS aggregator. The can be a desktop application (like the one we make) or a web-based aggregator. The important thing is that viewers can pull together video from anywhere on the web.

This separation of hosting services and viewing services is crucial: viewers could care less where the video is hosted, as long as they can watch it. A separation leaves publishers free to choose the hosting service that fits their needs best. If they like the elegant user interfaces of Blip or Vimeo, they go there. If they like the opportunity to earn money with Revver, they go there. If they want to offer ultra-high resolution video, they might host torrents on MoveDigital. Or maybe they want to control their videos even more closely and host them on their own website (as Rocketboom appears to do). With RSS, publishers can be in control.


Smaller hosting services and individual video creators can start pushing video RSS while still offering a great user experience on the web. In the long run, however, video RSS will be the key to success for small and mid-sized hosting companies.Â

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