Re: [Videolib] Streaming Videos from the Collection

Mark Richie (
Tue, 19 Jun 2007 21:56:49 -0500

Two observations: The notion that a DVD (MPEG-4) file would be used as
the basis of a
streaming system has been thrown about in this thread several times, to

" . . . About that single DVD copy that's
being used to make the file for
streaming ... "

" . . . . . strip a DVD, dump it on a server and stream for
everyone . . . ."

Given the incredible compression ratio of MPEG-4 and the bandwidth
required to move an MPEG-4 file
why would MPEG-4 be the file format of choice for a streaming system?
Certainly not for the clarity.
Moving and MPEG-4 means streaming a lot of resolution quality that can't
be resolved at the
user desktop. It will be seen on a computer screen, not an HDTV.


This gem has surfaced again, as it has in other threads about streaming
and/or digital rights -----

" Gary, I have been told by many librarians at the
diverse ALAs I went to
that they consider that the public performance price is
plenty and covers all
their streaming rights. If I was a librarian I would
certainly want to
believe that too. But I'm on the other side of the fence
here and my
opinion is that a $200 copy does not cover a campus of
10,000 students. . . ."

I've been working with digital rights issues since 1999 and I have never
heard a reasonable video librarian
expect to pay the same for digital rights as a single copy PPR video.
On the other hand it is a specious argument to
flash the "10,000 student" argument as justification for a per pupil
charge or some other exorbitant pricing scheme.

First, why can't $200 cover a campus of 10,000 students? Are all 10,000
students going to use the video?
Second, this market place has a history of multi-copy discounting and
hard copy duplication rights contracts.
In a regional media center the purchase of multiple copies or dupe
rights of high demand titles drove the
"unit" price down, not up.

In a university environment one copy may suffice to cover three sections
of a specific course offered each semester. Total viewings?
What, 35-40 students per section? Perhaps 240 to 300 viewers in six
class showings?

Now, enter streaming technology. Professor assigns the title to watch as
homework. Students stream the title at will (time shift viewing)
and watch it at home or in the dorm, or on their iPod, or vPhone et
al. Total number of viewers? About 240 to 300.

Hmmmmmmmm and for this some distributors suddenly want $2,000 up front
for a five year license? And another $2,000 or $3,000
to renew? So let's get a grip on reality here. It cost the same per
running finished minute to produce a video for release in hard copy
as it does for release with streaming rights. The fact that it is
available on a university digital server does not mean that suddenly 6,000
people are going to want to download the title and keep it for posterity.

Educational digital servers are generally password protected and users
have to register to gain access to search the catalog of titles.
For the convenience of making content available to students and staff
24/7 and for not having to stock two or three hard
copies that are subject to damage and loss, yea - that's worth a
premium over the cost of two or three hard copies with PPR.

But the notion that digital media is so special that we should agree to
pay six times the hard copy list price and be expected to pay it
again five years later is a disservice to the customer / distributor
relationship. It is false economics and false pricing. The value added
simply isn't there.

Oh, yea - the first counter argument to this is "but our contracts with
the producers demand these prices . ." So what. Rewrite the contracts!
What? Did you loose a bet and you HAD to accept the contract from the
producer with a digital pricing rider that looks
like extortion? Ultimately the market place decides what is a fair
price. But the buyer side has to get wise to the thinking
behind the rates set for digital rights and see them for what they are.

Mark Richie

VIDEOLIB is intended to encourage the broad and lively discussion of issues relating to the selection, evaluation, acquisition,bibliographic control, preservation, and use of current and evolving video formats in libraries and related institutions. It is hoped that the list will serve as an effective working tool for video librarians, as well as a channel of communication between libraries,educational institutions, and video producers and distributors.