Amit Asks: Will You Pay to Embed a Video on Your Website?

Amit Agarwal at Digital Inspiration has been a fan of Common Craft for a while and we've always enjoyed his thoughful analysis of our videos and business.  The news yesterday about our Web License prompted him to write about it - and question the business case for paying to embed videos.  We welcome this kind of analysis. 

He writes:

The good old YouTube days are over as Common Craft has created a new “web license” for their videos that would require bloggers and websites to pay a monthly subscription fee for embedding videos on their site. And this is not a small amount.

I am huge fan of the entire Common Craft series and admire the fact that they have come up with such a unique business model to distribute their “high value” content online. At the same time, stories published on blogs, unlike the newswires, stay forever so the cost of embedding a single video could easily run into a few thousand dollars over time and that may not make lot of business sense.

I think there is an important distinction to be made here that explains our licensing model. Amit, and I'm sure many observers, think of online video in the business-to-consumer YouTube model. It's social media currency - something to be shared broadly on blogs for free via YouTube. This is obviously a valid and dominant model. However, it's not the only model for online video.  Our approach is based not on bloggers or individuals, but organizations that will put the videos to work.

Over time, we've learned that Common Craft videos can be used as valuable business tools for organizations who are looking for high quality content to attract, engage and educate visitors, and potentially turn them into customers.  These videos don't normally reside on blog pages.

In our blog post about the new license and relationship with Wistia we say:

“This means a technology company can educate visitors on the basics of wikis, or cloud computing. A financial institution can educate potential customers on the stock market or borrowing money. A service organization can educate citizens about preparing an emergency kit.”

We're targeting the business-to-business market – organizations that will put the videos to work. We believe that the model makes sense for organizations because the videos can contribute to organizational goals. Plus, these same organizations want the hassle-free nature of embeddable videos that also come with Wistia’s analytics. This is very different from marketing the videos to bloggers.

Of course, this is uncharted territory for us all.  Over time, I'm a big believer that we're only starting to discover how video producers can build businesses around quality content. Hopefully this is a step in the right direction.