Video, Video, Everywhere

The NHL has announced more video partners: Voxant/TheNewsRoom and Joost.

Voxant PR:

The National Hockey League (NHL) announced today that it has teamed with Voxant, the Viral Syndication Network (VSN), to distribute video clips of game highlights, bloopers, noteworthy moments and other news to thousands of websites and blogs through TheNewsRoom. The clips, available beginning today, may be obtained for free and are accompanied by advertising, which provides revenue to content owners and sites where content is published.

NHL content available through TheNewsRoom includes:

  * Weekly “Best Of” highlights featuring the best goals, hits and saves of the week
  * Humorous videos or moments, out-takes, and bloopers
  * Highlight packs from individual games
  * Additional news content

Joost PR:

The National Hockey League (NHL) will offer free hockey programming to consumers on the Joost distribution platform beginning at the start of the 2007 Stanley Cup Final.  The announcement was made today by Joost™, the world’s first broadcast-quality Internet television service.

Under the agreement, the NHL will provide full-game replays on a delay and highlights from this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs, combined with a rich selection of vintage games from the NHL archives.  Some of the historic action available includes: game 7 of the 1994 Stanley Cup Final in which the New York Rangers defeated the Vancouver Canucks; game 7 of the 1993 Western Conference Final game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Los Angeles Kings featuring Wayne Gretzky; and the ultimate game of the 1997 Stanley Cup Final, in which the Detroit Red Wings topped the Philadelphia Flyers.

Joost is still in private mode and is invite only.  No word on how the games are available through that service.

As for Voxant/TheNewsRoom, I was curious about it and signed up.  Think of it as Youtube with a revenue-share model.  Similar to Revver, but with a CPM (cost per impression) model instead of CPC (cost per click).

There are a limited amount of videos available, but as it’s a new service, I assume that’ll change very soon.

A sample vid:

The quality of the picture is very good.  The motion could be smoother.  It’s as though the frame rate is a little lower than most online video.

The same clip on Youtube:

The concept is a good one: share the videos, make money with the league through the ads.

However, the process is very manual.  There doesn’t seem to be any email notifications or RSS feeds for the sports area or NHL-only videos.  TheNewsRoom offers a “feed” video, a player that has a list of videos, but I think most will be interested in embedding individual clips.

When you go to the site, you find your clip, click “Mash”, enter your email and agree to the terms, then choose your player style, then get the code.  The system doesn’t seem to remember if you’ve agreed to the terms and you’ll have to agree each time you go back to get video code (a decent amount of code which you’re not supposed to tinker with).  I’m playing around with the system, going back and forth, so I doubt most will have to do that more than once.

Another issue is the forced design from the two styles you can choose from.  Unlike other sites that allow you to embed video, and you embed just that, the video, with TheNewsRoom you’re embedding the logo, title, and “mash” button (to embed it on your own site) all outside of the player.  That’s the “compact” option.  The “standard” option is 100 pixels taller and also has a short description.  That makes for a 400x400/500 area with white as the only available background color.  The video is a standard 320x240 within that area (not including controls).

I’ve sent questions over to Voxant/TheNewsRoom about the design and if there will be more options for customization in the future.  As two people from there have already commented on Kukla’s Korner, I think it’s safe to say I’ll get a response.  It’s good to see them communicating with their users (who are all potential partners).  Kukla wasn’t the only one with a mention of the new partnership, Eric McErlain‘s also been following the NHL’s friendliness with new media video.

The question for this announcement is: Will possible revenue make bloggers and webmasters choose TheNewsRoom over the ease of use of most other systems?

The NHL has certainly been shaking a lot of hands recently.  Eric also covered the NHL on Amazon Unbox and it was also within the past month that the NHL partnered with Akimbo.

While each service may have it’s pros and cons, the NHL is definitely offering fans options.  The eyeballs are everywhere approach is a good one and it’s good to see the league so open to trying new things.

Update May 4 830pm: Voxant’s been very responsive.  Besides commenting below, I’ve also exchanged a few emails with them.  The word is there will be new display options in a few weeks.  I look forward to seeing what they’re putting together.

Posted by David M Singer on May 02, 2007 at 06:10 AM


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