07 Dec Sonic Foundry creates search engine for 7,000 expert video presentations
Madison, Wis. — Sonic Foundry premiered this week a new Mediasite portal, venturing into what they believe is an untapped audience on the Internet interested in multimedia presentations featuring expert knowledge.
The site features direct links to presentations by users of the company’s rich media software and server tools, which combine audio and video content with other media sources slideshows and text. The site debuted with almost 7,000 presentations, totaling over 5,000 hours of content. Presentations include such subjects as bird flu, distance education, law and politics.
“Most of the glitz you find with entertainment content, or music downloads, or even video iPods, can only focus on Hollywood content,” said CEO Rimas Buinevicius. “We feel that there’s an underserved market here, with information technology that’s out there.”
The site is relatively inexpensive for the company to maintain, in that it does not actually host or stream video content. Instead, a program scans the Web for Mediasite presentations, and content providers also submit their entries to Sonic Foundry, who checks to make sure the links work and the content is not inappropriate before entering it into the search engine.
Buinevicius said using on-demand delivery for video content, estimated at an average 60 megabytes for a single hour, can be less expensive than live webcasts.
“There is a huge cost associated with live webcasts, that gets you into extremely expensive bandwidth to meet the needs of instantaneous communications when you go out and do, let’s say, one of the big online live webcasts,” he said. “Rather than doing that, on-demand spreads the cost of the bandwidth out so that it’s almost no different than your normal Internet connection.”
Buinevicius said costs for the site would initially be offset by ads, and the company could also negotiate for some percentage on any future offerings that content providers wish to present on a subscription or pay-per-view basis. Additionally, the site would also function as a promotion of the Mediasite presentation technology, though it is too early for Buinevicius to make any prediction on the returns.
“Mediasite.com is interesting and offers a broad spectrum of how the technology is being used,” said David Simpson, director of digital media for Florida State University Academic and Professional Program Services, which uses Sonic Foundry’s technology. “I see value in the site in it being a resource for individuals to view other presentations of interest.”