Hybrid distribution

Publishing videos on-line is a great way to make content available to the whole world. But sometimes you can't rely on internet access: poor connectivity, lack of local internet providers and censored network connections are common obstacles. When that is the case, there are some alternatives. Distributing digital files is not only about using the internet. Portable digital storage devices such as CDs, DVDs, USB memory sticks, memory cards and even mobile phones allow content to be saved and then circulated physically from person to person. Other options include public screenings (discussed above), the use of low-power TV transmitters or the creation of distribution points with burn stations (computers configured so that anyone can make copies of digital content).

This section explains how you can download videos that have been published on online video websites and convert them to formats for distribution offline, as well as providing links to sites explaining more advanced methods of hybrid distribution. 

USB memory sticks, memory cards & mobile phones

USB memory sticks are very effective portable media storage devices that are becoming increasingly cheap. Memory cards can be found inside digital cameras, mobile phones and other equipment. They can be accessed by dedicated memory card readers or by connecting the camera to the computer with a USB cable. Usually, USB memory sticks, memory cards and some mobile phones are recognised by any operating system as removable devices and can be used like any other media: drag files to the appropriate folder in your computer, eject the device and you are ready to go. Your content can be brought or sent virtually anywhere in the world.

Some mobile phones offer also Bluetooth wireless connectivity: you can transfer files to and from an enabled computer, or directly between mobile phones. 

Local video distribution: Burn stations

A 'Burn Station' is a computer configured to record selected digital content to CDs, DVDs or other digital media. They can be used as distribution points for digital content. Some projects offer users a dedicated interface for browsing, selecting and saving or burning files, but you can accomplish basically the same results on any PC which holds your data files and has a CD or DVD burner.

Such a station means individuals don't need to have their own high-bandwidth internet connections in order to access new video content. Files can be loaded onto the burn station by hand from other computers, DVDs or USB memory sticks, or if you have a fast net connection, downloaded for redistribution.

Micro TV transmitters

Low-power video transmitters can be a good way to mobilise a local community and offer an alternative to mainstream TV channels by showing citizen media. One successful initiative is the Telestreet movement in Italy. Assembling a TV transmitter requires a little bit of technical know-how. Depending on where you are, there might be legal issues as well.


Online /Offline video site

How to create a VCD or SVCD

Burning VCDs with Linux

Video Syndication

Video Syndication is a great way to share and find content. Some internet TV shows have managed to use these technologies to reach massive audiences.

Syndicating your videos will help you to distribute your video widely, to reach your target audience reliably, and to present your videos in a high-quality manner. The key to syndication is having a media RSS feed, which is basically an up-to-date list of all of your latest videos. These feeds are also often referred to as video podcasts, or vodcasts.

Viewers who subscribe to your RSS feed will receive your latest videos as soon as you upload them; it's like TV over the internet. Search engines and websites love RSS feeds, because they're in a standard computer language. The simplest way to get an RSS feed is to sign up to a site that produces RSS feeds for you, or to start a video blog. 

RSS for Viewers

Individuals can subscribe to your RSS feed using an internet TV application, like Miro. When a user has subscribed to your feed, you know they're always getting your latest videos. 

RSS for your websites

RSS is also important for getting your feed published in aggregation sites, guides and search engines. If you have described your videos well, using accurate key words, people will be able to find them when searching for something on that subject. When other people publish video with RSS, you can subscribe to feeds of their videos, selecting by author or by search terms, and pull their videos in to your website automatically. 

How do I get my RSS?

Many video publishing services have an RSS feed associated with your username. Make Internet TV has a tool for finding your RSS feed. If you're not using one of these services, you can check the FAQ section of your video host. 

Further Resources

Create an online home

If you're using an online service to host your videos you might want to consider setting up a blog or website where you can compile them all. This will help people find your work and will also allow you to have more control over the space: you can add your own design, provide the most up-to-date information about your campaign and allow people to connect with you and get involved. This can also help people to find your work through search engines.

Video blogging

Video blogging, or vlogging, uses video as a medium for blogging. Video entries are made regularly and often combine internet syndication tools to allow for quick distribution of content over the internet using the RSS or Atom syndication formats.

Incorporating video into your blog and distribution strategy with syndication tools can be an good way to combine your regularly updated content online with your videos. For example, if you were able to produce and publish video on a regular basis, you could use it to point your audience towards your primary online presence (your website or blog), and keep them informed and engaged. By doing so, you can ensure viewers will see your video and also be able to see the essential information about your campaign and how to support it.

Elsewhere in this toolkit you can find out how to embed video in a WordPress blog (Read more) You could also look at Showinabox, a technology for setting up your own video blog.