How YouTube got its video technology for 20 euros

How YouTube got its video technology for 20 euros

Microsoft might not be the first tech company that pops up in your mind when talking about design, yet they do organize Mix Essentials – a one-day conference about design, UI and usability. I’ve attended the Digital Creativity Advertising & Video seminar, where some video experts talked about the latest trends in their profession. Amongst them was Jeroen Wijering from LongTail video. His talk was particularly relevant for a start-up blog like The Next Web, as he offers small parties a way to monetize their streaming videos.

jeroen wijering

Blurry picture of Jeroen Wijering

Wijering has been building embedable video players for a long time now, even before the YouTube era: “I make very simple FLV and WMV open-source video players. No fancy buttons, only the bare basics. Installing is a matter of copying the files on your server, past the code in your page and you’re good to go.”

One day, Wijering got a call from two guys, one was named Chad and the other Steve. They asked permission to use his video player. A few months later, Wijering heard from different sources about the next big thing in online video, some site called YouTube. “I had sold my license for 20 euros and though it was a good deal. Turned out it wasn’t”, Wijering told the audience with a smile on his face. Although he didn’t see any money, he did notice an increased interest in online video players. The number of plugin downloads from his site has steadily grown to a 100.000 a month.

While Wijering was helping out small sites with streaming video, he noticed the need for monetizing video streams. There do exist large ad networks, yet small companies don’t have the resources to reach an audience that’s large enough for these networks. So Wijering partnered up with some “ad selling boys from New York” and started LongTail Video to help out all the “small YouTube’s” out there. LongTail offers simple advertising solutions, like an overlay ad that covers 25 percent of the screen or a preload image. Also, users can include Google Adsense codes. By installing these ads, small site owners can make some money with their streaming videos.

To me, Wijering looked like an enthusiastic video pioneer who does it all for the love of the technology. Whereas a lot of people wouldn’t be able to recover from such a YouTube disappointment, Wijering looked at it as an opportunity. That’s the true entrepreneurial spirit.

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