A couple weeks ago, I stumbled upon the ingenious new service Olivelink. It's a person-to-person video broadcast service that allows you to either privately send video to one person, or publicly to anyone. The folks at Olivelink contacted me soon after to answer a few questions I raised in my original post, and I asked them to elaborate on a few more questions about how the service was developed and where they see it going. What follows is a short interview we did over email:
The service looks promising, was it developed from the start to be a 1-to-1 service or did you always plan on letting folks broadcast content to the public?
Originally we developed Olivelink as a 1-to-1 tool so we could share family stuff (like birthday party videos, etc). without the hassle of uploading to a web server or buring a DVD. However, it didn't take long to realize that it had great potential as a personal broadcasting medium.
What kinds of uses do you see typically? Is it all home video for grandma or are there other significant uses?
Initially it was a lot of home video stuff, but as we've gone along we're seeing a lot of different uses. While the video for grandma is still a big part, we're now seeing people doing "Wayne's World" type shows, funny little movies, and a lot of video blogging. Going forward we can see a lot of uses. Not just video hobbiests but independent film makers who want to distribute their work, schools that want to share lectures, people or companies who want to do "how-to" videos or public demonstrations, folks that want to setup their own mini-network, and so on. One of the more significant uses we can see is personal broadcast of breaking news like we saw with the Torrent feeds of the Tsunami a couple of months back. I'm sure we haven't scratched the surface as to all the things people will do with Olivelink. Our focus is to provide the freedom to distribute content, what people do with that will be limited only by their imaginations.
Is there any framework for listing public video, like a gallery or something at olivelink? Or is it up to people creating their video content to publicize it on their own sites?
A possibility for a public listing framework does exist, but we prefer that the community create that gallery/directory system. The idea is that if you want to share your video only with a few people, then your broadcast stays private. But if you want to create content and allow it to reach a far wider audience, you're free to promote your broadcast in any manner you see fit. Toward that end we have some upcoming features that will allow you to link your broadcasts directly to your website or blog, as well as video-on-demand option that will allow viewers to select one or more videos to watch from your library. We also have some additional privacy and "invitation only" features in the works.
Do you have any plans for passworded or paid streaming? I suspect someone could make their own show or video from an event, and then charge viewers a buck or two to watch it or get a password for it.
No doubt a lot of people will want to be able to charge for their content (e.g, for how-to video, remote learning, special content, etc.) As I mentioned we are working on an "invitation only" feature that will allow a broadcaster to limit his or her stream to specific viewers, so if an Olivelink broadcaster wanted to charge a fee to view content, they could do that. We give people the ability to distribute their content any way they want. If they want to quit their day job and make a living broadcasting from their basement, more power to them.
Do you see Olivelink becoming a "broadcaster of the people" someday? Imagine if many folks want to share their video you could have the internet equivalent of the largest public access cable network, all online for anyone to see.
Absolutely. I think if you look around you'll find that the most interesting and compelling content isn't coming from big movie studios or TV networks, it's coming from regular people. Whether it's Jib Jab's presidential spoofs, Rooster Teeth's Red Vs. Blue, home video of the Southeast Asian tsunami and other world events -- even audio-only podcasts, people are producing amazingly creative content and getting millions of viewers. I think in the near future you're going to see a revolution where viewers will no longer be limited to the content a few big businesses with a movie studio or a broadcast license want to produce. Forget 500 cable channels; get ready for 5 million. Now anybody with a camera, PC, broadband access and a little creativity will be able to get into broadcasting. The possibilities are very exciting and it's going to be very interesting to see what happens.
Thanks to the good folks at Olivelink for the interview!