Video Widgets Descend on DEMO

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Widgets, or embeddable slices of outside information that update automatically (displaying anything from a picture slideshow to current weather conditions) have their lovers and their haters.

We like the way they bring a little bit of the outside world to a page, and have been experimenting with them over in the lower-right part of this blog. Our favorite so far is vod:pod, which helps us build an in-site playlist of videos.

Tuesday at DEMO, at least three video widgets are launching — that’s gotta be a record. Below, we give a little main-column love to SplashCast, ClipSyndicate, and blinkxit.

Portland-based SplashCast is perhaps the most flexible of the widgets, incorporating audio, photos, text, video, and RSS feeds into a clean and simple Flash player. However, it is still quite limited, for instance allowing only YouTube-hosted and desktop video files at this point.

SplashCast is probably most similar to the idea of Slide — where a creator pushes fresh content out to widget player subscribers — though that service just seems to get cutesier every time we look at it.

I can think of many great uses for SplashCast’s embedded players, but the creation process is laid out in such a linear way you’d have to use the tool a few times before figuring out how it could work best. For instance, bands could use this as a marketing tool — getting fans to embed the player on their pages and pushing out new singles, music videos, and tour dates. And — huzzah! — that could be a business model too.

Since I’m a heavy widget user I have some fairly specific demands for SplashCast. On the publisher side, I’d like to see better submission tools — a bookmarklet to submit additions from off-site, and ways for readers to suggest and/or add items. On the audience side, I’d like a channel guide, where I can find popular curators and celebrities to syndicate. Some of these features are already provided by vod:pod.

SplashCast is the second version of a company founded in 2004 called QMind, which made similar tools for internal training in the enterprise space. It had raised $1.3 million in funding.

Check out my first attempt at a SplashCast show below:

Next up, ClipSyndicate. New York-based ClipSyndicate is a subsidiary of television-tracker Critical Mention, soon to be a separate company.

Critical Mention has taken its massive real-time television indexing tools and extending them from corporate intelligence and research, where it sells them now, to syndicating relevant and current video to vertically-oriented sites. For instance, the web presence of a fire-fighting magazine uses ClipSyndicate to subscribe to a feed of the latest fire-related clips.

ClipSyndicate is also a version 2.0 company of sorts, but in this case the founders of Critical Mention had sold ScreamingMedia, a sort of text version of what they’re doing now, to Marketwatch for $103 million in 2003.

ClipSyndicate is perhaps not a full-fledged widget, as it is not, at this point, self-serve. However, it gives indie publishers access to a ton of fresh news content that they would not otherwise see. The service works on a rev-share model, with 30 percent to the broadcaster, 20 percent to web publishers, and 50 percent to ClipSyndicate.

Lastly, San Francisco-based video search engine blinkx is launching a “blinkxit” widget on Thursday. We haven’t gotten a good look at this one yet, but basically the tool will allow people to provide contextual video within a blog post via an embedded video menu or video wall. Screenshot below.

blinkxit-inside-4.jpg

7 Comments

Ty Graham

When you say: “SplashCast is the second version of a company founded in 2004 called QMind6, which made similar tools for internal training in the enterprise space.”

The Qmind’s demo site doesn’t show anything similar to a single player concept like Splashcast. Seems like one would believe that the content management/integration side to link all the content into the player is what they ported over. Even still, it’s a great service.

The really interesting part is that I have a patent-pending on this and the direction they are headed to monetize the service.

Seeing their product just proves everything now. Everyone is going to get Blip’d!

Sundar Krishnamurthy

Another site called Cliplets (http://www.cliplets.com/) does video bookmarking (full disclosure: I am a co-creator of this site/service). You can collect videos from the usual suspects like YouTube, MySpace, Bebo, etc. into a single collection.

Also, you can embed the collection (a la widget) anywhere.

Check it out when you have a moment, thanks.

Sundar

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