The Participatory Culture Foundation (PCF), better known as the folks behind the Miro video player, launched a venture called Miro Community yesterday. Miro Community is essentially a free, hosted CMS for online video websites with an emphasis on feed aggregation and interaction with viewers.
Miro Community does not offer video hosting on its own, but relies on feeds from YouTube and other sources, which can be imported in a matter of minutes. “Our feeling is that there’s a lot of great free (or) low-cost hosting options out there,” explained PCF-co-founder Nicholas Reville when I contacted him via email yesterday, adding: “The usage we’re targeting is people and organizations that want to bring together video from various places into one well-designed experience.”
Some of the sites that are using Miro community include the public broadcaster WDET Detroit, Duke University and the auto enthusiast community SkiddPlayer, and Reville told me that the group is in talks with other public radio stations and newspapers. “Folks who submit the best videos will tend to already have a video hosting account that they post to,” he said. Miro Community would make it possible to aggregate those videos instead of forcing people to re-upload each and every clip.
I played a little bit with the platform yesterday and today, the results of which can be seen here, and importing video feeds really does work like a breeze. The Miro Community Engine gathers embed codes and all relevant metadata from the source site. Admins then have a chance to curate these feeds, rejecting or approving each and every clip — an approach that is particularly useful if one would, for example, aggregate a feed of YouTube videos tagged with a certain keyword. However, trusted feeds can also be auto-approved.
Miro Community’s hosted version is free for non-commercial use, but users that want some advanced features, including the ability to run advertising need to apply for a premium account, which costs $99 per month after a three-month test period.
The platform has been built with the help of a $589,000 grant by the Knight Foundation, which aimed to enable “a new low-cost model for community civic media.” Reville told me that the Participatory Culture Foundation is looking to supplement foundation grants like this one with earned revenue though projects like Miro Community to establish long-term sustainable funding.
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