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In addition to receiving a generous new round of venture capital, Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com (and the backend provider for NewTeeVee and the rest of the GigaOM network), has announced a storage upgrade for users. Combined with the beta video player, server-side transcoding and a new Flash-based uploading interface due to be released shortly, this makes the $20-a-year WordPress.com pro account a simple, turnkey solution for videoblog and podcast publishing.
Pro users will be able to store up to 8GB of media, and as Automattic founder Matt Mullenweg told me in a phone conversation, can be assured that the storage will be reliably archived. One potential problem is that uploads are limited to 70MB, which means individual videos will be limited to about 15 minutes — presumably to reduce technical and copyright violation complications.
What WordPress.com still doesn’t do is produce iTunes-compatible RSS feeds — for that, users will still have to run their feed through FeedBurner or similar services (it does produce mRSS feeds suitable for Miro). And free accounts, though also getting a space upgrade to 3GB, will still be limited to image and document uploads. Still, as Podcasting News noted, the price point is significantly less than other host-blogging platforms.
WordPress, the free, open-source software, has long been one of the top choices of videobloggers who choose to host their own sites and video. It’s extensibility has led to a number of video-specific add-ons and plugins, such as Show in a Box and PodPress. WordPress.com has focused on limited features but maximal ease-of-use, something my usability engineer of a mother would appreciate as a democratizing factor.
As a free account user myself, I generally host my video on the more feature-rich blip.tv and then embed clips in my WordPress blog. But I often get asked for advice (and just as often offer it, unsolicited) as to where and how to publish video, so for those of you looking to get started with a videoblog but who don’t have much technical expertise, this is an interesting new option.