By Steve Outing
For most mainstream news publishers, as they produce video, the inclination is to host that content on their own websites. Makes sense, right? You own the videos, they should be where you have complete control over them. Right?
Actually, not necessarily. These days it makes the most sense to post video on Youtube, which has become the de facto standard for web video.
Why? The short answer is: Videos hosted on your own website don’t get nearly the exposure and distribution they’ll get when posted on Google-owned Youtube. When an online user spots your video on Youtube, they’ll be able to grab the “embed code” and place the video on their blog, website, social network page, etc. No, that’s not stealing your copyrighted content; you want them to do that, so their readers will see your content and brand and click through to your site. This is the Distributed Web strategy, and it’s smart.
What should you post on your own site: The Youtube version of your video? Or another self-hosted version? Either one is fine. If you’re willing to go to the trouble (and expense) of hosting and serving up your own videos, it makes perfect sense to have a copy that’s completely under your control. I’d highly recommend, though, that you allow viewers to pick up the embed code from that so they can spread your content around the web.
But really, it’s probably fine to stick with posting your video content on Youtube and using the Youtube-embed version on your own site. There’s no longer any shame in doing that. If you’re a small publisher, given the choice of only one video hosting, I’d go with Youtube. Your video content is more likely to get wider exposure and distribution outside of your website’s user base. Doing only self-hosting for your videos is a negative.
Of course, don’t forget about all the other places your video should appear: MySpace, Facebook, et al. You may be able to simply use Youtube video versions for some sites, while needing to upload new videos for others. The important thing is just to spread your video around widely and intelligently.
The New York Times posts some of its videos on Youtube; anyone can pick up code to republish the video online, serving as a marketing channel for NYTimes.com. On its website, however, self-hosted videos cannot be shared.