YouTube as the Video Solution

Creating a channel specific to your publication and managing videos in YouTube for wider exposure

Published: Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Updated: Tuesday, July 27, 2010 15:07

Giving your readers more than what is found in the words of your printed product is the best thing your web site can provide, and smart use of video is a good way to cross-promote the web in the print edition.

There are many, many solutions for adding video to your site. For starters, you can use the video object inside your CMS, such as CP5. There are other self-hosted solutions, LongTail is a good one.  Other popular sites are Vimeo, Viddler, and the one that started it all, YouTube.

Viddler and YouTube share something important, they can both provide a revenue stream with advertising, but only if your views and subscriptions are very high. If you get a lot of traffic and subscriptions on YouTube, you can become a Partner, which gives you a share of the ad revenue, a co-branded channel, and other nice features such as auto-play.

While I like Viddler for the fact that you can watermark your video with your own logo, (YouTube watermarks video when embedded) accessibility and distribution to a wider base within YouTube's community eventually won out for the web video solution on The BG News site.

Not only will embedded YouTube video play on an iPhone/iPod Touch which are increasing in market share in the college demographic, but if you include a link to the YouTube page itself, a BlackBerry can also view the video. It also doesn't hurt that YouTube is easy to use and has a polished back-end for uploading and organizing your videos.

Video Administration:

For starters, you can change the color of your channel to match your site, such as our YouTube channel for The BG News. YouTube recently launched a beta of their new channels, and our channel uses the new design. I would strongly recommend setting your account type to Reporter, and your beat to Local News. Then you should promote it, with the other social media sites your newspaper uses, such as Twitter, Facebook, and the like.

Embedding the video is as simple as copying the HTML code from the YouTube page and adding it to your article page. On our Home Page, we use an Article List object in CP5 for our Video Views. We take a screen grab from the video to use as a thumbnail image, and place the embed code in the Text portion of the article.

You could also add the video to an existing article, or if you wanted to get creative, click on the Elements tab and select the HTML object from the drop down list, and put the embed code in there. Depending on your template, this will likely wrap the video to the right. You would have to be careful of the width, but this would be a great way to add context to a story, and make it look good.

As stated above, nothing special needs to be done to the YouTube embed code for the YouTube iPhone app to trigger once a video is tapped on the device. Even better, once the video is done playing, it closes and takes the user back to Safari. Check out what is looks like on an iPhone/iPod Touch. I have not done testing on an Android-based phone or a Palm Pre, but BlackBerry will load the video as long as you provide a direct link to the video, such as

Simply put, there is no better solution for adding video to your site, because of the flexibility and options that YouTube provides - from uploading options (including uploading from a mobile phone), to accessibility on mobile devices. There is also something to be said for not having to worry about the bandwidth bill at the end of the month.

My only concession with YouTube is that you need a large viewer/subscriber base to become a Partner, though there are in-video adverts and other advertising options if you have the budget (but you may not).

For tips from the horses mouth:

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