Karsa makes charging for online video easy

Karsa makes charging for online video easy

Imagine if you were watching a video online and halfway through you were asked to pay a fee to watch the rest. You might not be so keen but for publishers with expensive bandwidth bills to pay, it could be just the ticket.

Karsa is a new Flash-based video player that allows any video publisher to offer as portion of a streaming video for free and then charge for access after that. Publishers can control how much of a video viewers can watch for free, how much they want to charge and how long users wil have access to the video after that; from one day up to a year.

The idea came about when UK-based Steve Carrol needed a way to pay for the bandwidth costs of his popular documentary video site. He came up with the technology for offering a ‘free sample’ of video and charging for the rest and realised there was potential in converting that into a business.

Use of Karsa costs £9 per month and publishers are only asked to pay when they make money from it. Carrol plans to add an affiliate market system to allow video creators can offer their content to other publishers who will make a cut from sales.

Karsa reminds us of Brainient, another way for publishers to build a business model directly into videos, albeit in that case by adding interactive ‘layers’ of information onto of the video

If we think Karsa has a flaw, it’s the video player itself. It might put off some customers who are used to YouTube and Vimeo as it lacks the scrub bar that they might expect to be able to use for moving backwards and forwards through even just the free part of the video. However, this is intentional; Carroll tells me that once a viewer has paid they can move backwards and forwards through the video as they wish.

Karsa is an interesting idea and the model is likely to work well in certain premium video markets and for anyone who wants to try making a buck or two from their content.

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