MindBites Custom Video Stores: Making it easy to Sell Videos Online on your own site!

by Dustin in General / 11.09.11

prajnayoga_uploadMindBites Custom Stores are arguably the most powerful tool we offer our partners in their quest to conquer the online video marketplace. I know the greatness of a Custom Store is not news to a lot of you, but, for those new to the party, here is a quick overview!

Essentially, a Custom Store is a video store built off of our video-on-demand platform. Our custom stores:

  • Match the look and feel of your site
  • Are easy to set up and easy to bolt onto your own site or blog
  • Allow visitors to preview, purchase access to and view purchased videos
  • Support a wide range of video product configurations (rent, buy, download, stream, bundle, etc)
  • Offer content organization and categorization options
  • Offer built-in social media options (embed codes, sharing with Google+ and Facebook, etc)
  • Handle video functions (flash and MP4 video creation, hosting, streaming, etc)
  • Handle commerce functions (PayPal and credit card payments, refunds, etc)
  • Handle purchase fulfillment, customer management and technical support functions

Now that we are all familiar with Custom Stores, I’d like to point you towards a new series of Screencasts that Chelsea created on, you guessed it, setting up your Custom Video Store! This series of videos should help you in setting up or tweaking your own store, give you some ideas on Custom Store best practices and highlight some Custom Store features of which you may not be aware.

When you’re ready to start rolling with a custom store (or just upload some videos to sell through  our video marketplace), click on over to our site to get signed up to sell your videos online using the MindBites platform. Let us know what you think in the comments below or feel free to send us an email directly with any questions!

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Sale on MindBites Education Videos!

by Dustin in General / 05.11.11

Sorry, but the sale is over. Check our blog/Facebook/Twitter for updates on future sales and new education videos!

Here at MindBites we understand the pressure of finals. That is why we are making things a little easier, by offering deep discounts on some of our most popular education video series during finals season:

Algebra:

Thinkwell’s Complete Algebra Course (258 videos) - 20% Off ($40 in savings)!

Algebra: Exponential & Logarithmic Functions (36 videos) - 20% Off!

College Algebra: Systems of Equations (33 videos) - 20% Off!

Check out all of our Algebra videos here.

Biology:

Thinkwell’s Complete Biology Course (390 videos) - 20% Off ($40 in savings)!

Biology Final Exam Test Prep Video Series (42 videos) - 20% Off!

Cell Reproduction (16 videos) - 25% Off!

Genetics: DNA & Replication (35 videos) - 20% Off!

Biotechnology (16 videos) - 20% Off!

Plant Systems and Homeostasis (14 videos) - 20% Off!

Check out all of our Biology videos here.

Calculus:

Thinkwell’s Complete Calculus Course (276 videos) - 20% Off ($40 in savings)!

Calculus Final Exam Test Prep Video Series (45 videos) - 20% Off!

Sequences & Series (45 videos) - 20% Off!

Applications of Integral Calculus (18 videos) - 15% Off!

Techniques of Integration (28 videos) - 20% Off!

L ‘Hopitals Rule (8 videos) - 25% Off!

Check out all of our Calculus videos here.

Chemistry:

Thinkwell’s Complete Chemistry Course (303 videos) - 20% Off ($40 in savings)!

Chemistry Final Exam Test Prep Video Series (49 videos) - 20% Off!

Stoichiometry (11 videos) - 20% Off!

Chemical Kinetics (18 videos) - 20% Off!

Atoms, Molecules, and Ions (10 videos) - 25% Off!

Reactions in Aqueous Solutions (10 videos) - 20% Off!

Check out all of our Chemistry videos here.

Trigonometry:

Thinkwell’s Complete Trigonometry Course (152 videos) - 20 % Off ($30 in savings)!

Trigonometric Functions (28 videos) - 15% Off!

Trigonometric Identities (23 videos) - 15% Off!

Check out all of our Trigonometry videos here.

These discounts will not last long, so make sure to grab them now if you need some help in your studies.

Thanks for being a part of the MindBites community and best of luck with finals!

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Feature Overview: Getting the Most out of MindBites

by Huntley in General / 05.03.11

At its core, MindBites offers you the bells-and-whistlesability to sell access to your uploaded video content. That said, there are anumber of different bells and whistles that you should know about to get the most out of the marketplace &/or platform.

Channels: Marketplace & Custom Stores
There are two primary channels through which you can sell access to your videos using MindBites.  The first is the MindBites marketplace, where anyone can upload and sell access to their instructional/educational video content.  The second is a custom store.  Custom stores are available to partners that are subscribed at the Pro level of the MindBites platform and above.  Custom stores are designed to easily integrate into and are skinned to match the look and feel of your existing site.  You can learn a bit more about custom stores in this blog post or by checking out a few of the custom stores listed in the Featured Store carousel midway down the Sell Page on MindBites.   Look for the ‘Create Store’ link on your author dashboard to start working on a custom store.

Products: Videos & Video Series

There are two types of products that content partners sell through MindBites: individual videos (lessons) and bundles of videos (series).  Once your individual videos are published, you’ll be able to create a series out of any combination of your published videos.  Look for the ‘Add Series’ link on your author dashboard to create a series.

In the MindBites marketplace, individual videos need to be instructional or educational in nature - hence, you’ll see them referred to as lessons in many places.  If you’re uploading content to sell through a custom store that you bolt onto your own site, you’ll be less constrained in terms of the nature of the content.  That said, we’re not in the business of facilitating the sale of content that is offensive or adult in nature through the marketplace or custom store platform.

Packaging: Title, Price, Thumbnail, Attachments etc
Once you have a video uploaded, you have all sorts of different ways to package it:

  • Basics that you have to stipulate: title, description, category, and price for your lessons and series.  When selling through the MindBites marketplace, there is a defined set of categories and sub-categories from which you can choose.  When working with a custom store, you define the categories for your store and assign video products to them as you see fit.
  • Optional attributes that you can control: custom thumbnail images, transcripts or outlines to help out with search engine optimization, supplemental file attachments (listed on the product page but only downloadable or viewable once the video has been purchased).

Access Restrictions: Download vs Stream & Rent vs Own
In addition to packaging options listed above, content partners can also constrain access (for purchasers) in two ways:

  1. Download vs Stream: First, partners at the Business level and above are able to set content to be ’stream-only’.  By default, all sold through the MindBites marketplace can be viewed online and/or downloaded for offline viewing once purchased.  If a partner stipulates that a video is ’stream only’, the download links will be removed for purchasers.
  2. Rent vs Own: In addition to restricting downloads, partners can also limit access in a time-delimited fashion.  Thus, instead of ’selling’ access to your videos, you can effectively offer a rental option by stipulating that a video is only available to be watched for a defined period of time (e.g. 30 days) once it is purchased.  Within this time period, the user will be able to watch the video as many times as they’d like.  However, once this time period has expired, the content will be removed from the user’s library.  Once a video has expired for a user, he or she can opt to repurchase access.  This is best when paired with restrictions on downloading as any downloaded versions of the content will not disappear once downloaded.

Mobile: MindBites on the go!
Both the MindBites marketplace and MindBites custom store platform are iPhone and iPad enabled.  Users accessing the marketplace or a custom store through an Apple mobile device are served MP4 files in lieu of FLVs.  Both the marketplace and custom store platform have an iphone-enabled layout that is served when a user accesses either through an iPhone/Touch given the screen size of these devices.  Users can preview videos, purchase videos, watch purchased videos, or login to view purchased videos through the browser on mobile devices.

In addition to enabling our stores and marketplace for these kinds of devices, MindBites also works with some content partners on creating custom paid video apps that can be sold through Apple’s App Store.  Contact us for details on these sorts of custom projects.

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Selling Video through MindBites: What does it take?

by Huntley in General / 04.20.11

mb-logo-jpg“I periodically get an open-ended, what does it take to sell videos through MindBites” email, so in the interest of saving a bit of time for myself, I figured it was high time that I pull together my semi-stock answer in a single concise blog post.

1. What can I sell through MindBites?

MindBites is a marketplace and platform that we built to enable you to sell access to videos that you create. It’s free to upload videos to the main MindBites video marketplace and sell access to them there. If you have an existing site, though, you may want to consider selling through a custom store that can easily be built and bolted onto your existing site or blog (you can see some custom store examples here or in the featured custom stores carousel midway down this page).

There are two types of products that can be sold through MindBites or a MindBites powered custom store: videos and series (bundles of videos). For any products you release into the marketplace, you, as the content creator, control all of their core settings and parameters (title, description, pricing, thumbnail, category, access period restrictions, downloading constraints, optional file attachments, optional transcript, etc).

2. I want to sell my videos! What next?

First, we’ll need to get you to sign up (as an “author” - meaning that you’re signing up to sell access to videos rather than signing up as someone who is only there to buy videos). The first decision at sign-up is what platform level (basic, pro, business, premier, or enterprise) is appropriate for you and your business.

The Basic level has no monthly costs, but you’ll be constrained a few different notable ways.  First, videos sold through  MindBites must all be instructional/educational in nature.  Second, you won’t have the option of creating a custom store to bolt onto your existing site such that you can sell access to your videos through your own site rather than having to direct your customers to MindBites, where the branding is all MindBites branding and there may be competing products.  You’ll also only be able to upload individual video files that are up to 250MB (each).   Further, you’ll be capped at 10 videos.

The Pro level bumps up the individual file size limit to 350MB and gives you the ability to upload up to 100 videos.  Even more importantly, you’ll be able to create and customize a custom store at this level.  And, as an added bonus, at the Pro level and above, you’ll get access to all of our bulk upload and bulk edit tools at this level (since uploading and customizing 100 different videos individually can be tedious and slow).

The Business level takes all of these things one step further.  The file size limit goes up to 500MB, and you can upload and sell access to up to 250 different videos.  You’ll also be able to create up to 2 custom stores under this plan.  For many, the main reason to bump up to the Business level is that you’ll get control of an additional parameter on all of your uploaded videos: you’ll be able to restrict downloads of the content.  Thus, you can set your content to be “stream-only” meaning that folks that purchase access can only watch it while they’re logged into their account online - they cannot download an MP4 version of the videos to save locally and access from their hard drive offline.

Needing additional functions, contact us about the Premier level (which comes with more stores, more videos, larger file sizes, etc) or Enterprise (which are generally custom plans that involve large content bases or special features) options.

3. How do I make money? What does it cost me?

The Basic platform level is free on a monthly basis.  We cover the costs of your account by keeping a share of your revenues.

Your earnings on each sale are determined by the price you set.  We take the price you set and remove a $0.29 transaction fee.  Then, we divide the remainder between you and us.  You get 65% on marketplace sales (and we keep 35%).  For sales through a custom store, you’ll earn anywhere from 70-75% depending upon your selected platform level (70% at Pro and 75% at Business and above).  We cover all financial processing costs, all media processing costs, all bandwidth costs, all storage and hosting costs, all affiliate payouts (for the MindBites affiliate program on the Main MindBites marketplace) out of our share of your gross revenues.

You’ll be able to track your earnings real-time on your author dashboard (accessible through the ‘My MindBites’ tab once you’re signed up as an author).  Anytime your earnings balance exceeds $25, a “Request Payout” button will pop up next to your available earnings balance.  Simply clicking that will trigger the payout request, which usually takes a few business days.  We pay you out via PayPal, and the PayPal payment confirmation email goes to the email address associated with your account with us.

There is a small flat monthly fee associated with each platform level above the Basic level, all of which give you the option of offering a custom store and all of which offer higher payout rates on all sales made through your custom store (Pro is currently $14/mo and Business is currently $29/mo).

Soooo, what are you waiting for?  Go sign up… or Contact us with more questions!

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iPhone/iPad App Development Learnings: Paid Apps versus Free Apps with In-App Purchase

by Huntley in General / 04.06.11

In developing our platform for creating video apps recently, we’ve been lucky enough to experiment with some of our content partners using different monetization models. In discussions with other video content partners that are looking to build paid (non ad-supported) video-based iOS (iPhone/iPad/iTouch) applications, one of the questions we hear often centers around the building a free app with content available via in-app purchase versus building a paid app.

Our initial foray into the iPad and iPhone app space revolved around a few free apps that were downloadable and came with access to a considerable amount of free video content. Within the app, users could also preview any of the premium videos that were available through in-app purchase in the app.

Our thinking in pursuing this sort of path was that we guessed that users might want to see what they were getting before they shelled out any cash (which they could do with access to a fair amount of free content as well as preview access to all premium content). Further, since we were dealing with videos organized into full courses (which involved 30-50 hours of video content), price points were tricky for us. Normal price points online for accessing the content are above $150, but this is pretty unheard of in the app store. Thus, where the online product comes with a year of access (or forever access for $200), we opted to go with an in-app purchase approach where we could charge ‘iphone/ipad-esque’ prices for short timeframes of access. Thus, we’d charge $0.99 for 24-hour access, $2.99 for 7-day access, etc.

This play was slightly thwarted by Apple, which has some interesting rules about accessing content this way. First, they’re open to a semi-subscription model, but they don’t like the idea of simply renting video content as this too closely parallels offerings in the iTunes store. Second, they don’t like short timeframes on access periods. They pushed back on our model by insisting that the shortest duration of access we offered be 30 days. Additionally, Apple isn’t terribly fond of subscription-based access to static content (with an automatically charged/recurring monthly payment). Thus, while they’re open to it for WSJ or NYT or others that have new content with every new month of access, they’re not as keen on it for offering access to content that will be the same in month 1, month 2, etc. In those cases, you’ll need to get your customer to opt-in (and re-purchase) each month.

Ultimately, we released our first round of iPad and iPhone apps with 30, 90, 180 and 360-day access options available through in-app purchase. The apps were free to download and came with a considerable amount of free content (~2+ hours), but premium content was only previewable unless access was purchased via in-app purchase. From a logistical standpoint, this worked pretty well. Aside from obvious but unavoidable downsides (like sharing 30% with Apple), the model was perfectly workable. Only a month in did we start realizing the more poignant issue with this type of model. The downside for it was that anyone could download the free app and thus anyone could review it. Thus, we got very favorable reviews from people who purchased access to the premium content in the app - but very unfavorable reviews from folks that just downloaded the app and live in a world where they’re pretty adamantly opposed to paying for anything. Unfortunately, ratings/reviews matter a tremendous amount for apps in the app store.

So, after our first round learnings, we took a different approach to building out the next few dozen apps we’ve released with/for various content partners. While these partners often had content that was neatly organized in broad courses, we’ve opted to take a multi-app (or perhaps more accurately a multi-paid-app approach) to making their content available through the App store. Thus, instead of offering one free app with in-app purchase that enables access to 400 included videos (50-60 hours of content), we’d decided that it was better to push out 10-30 paid apps for a 400-video course. This allowed us to offer price points in the ‘App Store Range’ and also gives users the ability to see how they like the content/approach by buying a single app. Further, we’ve seen some search and findability benefits that we believe to be there (but have difficulty quantifying). With more niche content in each app (e.g. Derivative Rules versus Calculus), we have more specific keywords for each app and a higher likelihood that a student looking for information on the broader subject area will find one or more of the apps - and then get hopelessly hooked on them such that he must have them all! Unfortunately, Apple has recently started working on cracking down on companies releasing multiple apps that are similar in form/function (even if they have different content). They’d like for you to utilize in-app purchase functionality instead of pushing out a whole of apps and “spamming the app store.” There’s rumored to be a sweet spot - a point at which you’ll attract Apple’s attention in a way that you don’t want it. Putting out 5 similar apps (with similar features but different content) will probably be fine but putting out 500 similar apps will not fly - finding that point isn’t easy, though. Thus, increasingly, in-app purchase is going to become more and more common as Apple pushes developers to use that feature.

Thinking about building your own iPhone/iPad video-based paid app? We can probably help you out with it. Contact us if you’d like to talk through what you’re thinking!

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iPhone/iPad App Development Learnings: Building a Video App with HTTP Live Streaming

by Huntley in General / 03.30.11

Many folks ask us what’s involved with putting out a video app for the iPhone/iPad. They’re curious how and if videos need to be transcoded (e.g. differently than when you’re preparing them for web distribution), how to deliver videos via 3G versus Wifi, what the monetization options are, etc.

We all know that Flash doesn’t play well with the iPhone/iPad. That said, this limitation (unless you’re in the Steve Jobs school of thought) is something that is pretty easy to work around at this point with other video formats. MindBites, for instances, transcodes all uploaded videos into two formats. For each format, we create two different videos. Thus, after an uploaded video runs through the media processor, we end up with four videos - 2 are preview length and 2 are full-length. Within each pair, we have one MP4 file (which we use for downloads [if allowed] and delivery to iPhone/iPad/iTouch) and one FLV (which we use for delivery to traditional browsers). Thus, video on iOS devices is pretty straightforward to handle through the browser on the device if you have a video person that knows what they’re doing.

However, Apple throws some additional wrinkles into the mix if you’re dealing with the App Store. Generally speaking, if you have more than a very brief video clip, you won’t be able to allow users to just download all of the videos included in your app with the app bundle that they download following purchase from the app store (as there are limitations in how large these bundles can be). Thus, you’ll have to figure out a way to serve these files to the application, and you’ll have to store them elsewhere. That’s not too tricky in and of itself, but the tricky part comes in if you want to allow viewers to stream the videos over a 3G connection.

To do this, Apple basically requires you to use HTTP Live Streaming. Using this approach, you’ll be able to deliver video over 3G connections (as well as wifi), but you’ll add a considerable amount of complexity. Thus dealing with streaming video over 3G for an iPad/iPhone app isn’t something that someone outside the video space will be able to easily figure out. For each video file, you’ll have to break the full-length video into segments (Apple recommends 10 second increments as the sweet spot and wouldn’t allow you to go much longer than that). For each 10-second increment of content, you’ll have to have 4-5 different versions of the file that have varying bit rates. One file has to have a bit rate that has 64 kbps bit rate. This is super low and will be your cellular fallback stream when the connection is very poor. You won’t have video on this stream - you’ll either be able to have audio-only or perhaps audio-only with a static image. The app then detects which 10 second stream to pull and deliver at appropriate increments based upon the connection speed at that point.

Encoding settings are also a bit tricky - if you want to support older versions of iPhone or iPod Touch (e.g. iPhone 3G), you’ll want to use H.264 Baseline 3.0 Video for compatibility reasons. If you want to constrain devices for your app, you can move up to Baseline 3.1. That said, it’s important to note that device limitations need to be submitted in the app binary. You cannot re-submit a binary later that makes the app more restrictive (for obvious reasons - e.g. it’s not cool if someone with an iPhone 3G bought your app and then you added a device restriction in an upgrade that makes it not work on their phone).

Thinking about building your own iPhone/iPad video-based paid app? We can probably help you out with it. Contact us if you’d like to talk through what you’re thinking!

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2011 Best DVD Ripping Software - Mac & PC, Free & Paid DVD Rippers

by Huntley in General / 12.02.10

It’s been a while, so we figured it was about time to update our DVD Ripping post for you guys. Not much has changed on the features & functionality front since our post on top DVD rippers last year. You still want to make sure to paydvd_image attention to the same key attributes that we talked about in last year’s post: Ease of Use, Speed, Video Format & Codec options, Frame Size Resolution & Aspect Ratios, Bitrate Manipulation, Media Selectivity, Batch Conversion Support, Encryption/Decryption Capabilities, and Picture Deinterlacing, Cropping & Scaling.

But, while not much has changed on the ‘attributes to consider’ front, there have been some noticeable changes to the landscape of DVD offerings. We’ve been trying to update the old post as new tools have come out, but it’s finally time to just start out on a new one.

There are really 2 big divisions to consider. First, are you using a Mac or a PC? Second, are you looking for a free option or are you willing to pay for a higher-end application? I hate to say that you get what you pay for because there are plenty of fantastic free options out there, but if you’re serious about this or picky about your output, I would definitely suggest investing the money up-front to get an application that can generate the output file and quality level that you want.

So, paid options to start with:
1. DVDFab DVD Ripper ($50) & Blu-Ray Ripper ($60) - PC Only

It dvdfabrippertakes a lot to get this top spot, but we feel like the DVD Fab folks have earned it (even if they don’t have a Mac version).  These DVD/Blu-Ray Rippers are possibly the most powerful, flexible and fast tools you can find for ripping and converting your DVD video content to popular file formats for storage or playback on many devices including iPod, iPad, PS3, Xbox, and many cellphones and personal media players. However, these are only available to PC/Windows users.  They have a great user interface that allows user control over tons of output parameters and supports multi-core CPUs and batch conversion to make ripping go lightning fast. Like all DVDFab products, DVDFab DVD Ripper and DVD Fab Blu-Ray Ripper are designed to accommodate both new and experienced users with a user interface that offers both power and simplicity.

1b. Toast 11 Titanium ($100 but on sale for $80) and Toast 11 Pro ($150 but on sales for $130) - Mac Only

As with DVDFab, Toast has earned this top spot for Mac users.  It’s still the most robust of all the DVD toast11titaniumripping software we’ve come across for Mac. It can rip, convert and decrypt any DVD, any timecode, any chapter. It is a huge time saver and rips twice as fast as any other ripping application. Its speed surprises me every time by finishing fast and signalling it’s finished with a delightful little “ding.” Very refreshing. It’s been around for about 10 years, but they keep making it better. It’s also racked up on the awards front with recent recognition coming from both toast11proMacWorld and the Mac Observer in addition to rave reviews from Computer Shopper, AppleTell and many others.

Toast 10 Pro offers all of the bells and whistles of Toast Titanium but also gives you the ability to create a custom soundtrack, remove unwanted noise, burn HD video to DVD and Blu-Ray, enhance photos with Lightzone, and create gorgeous HD slide shows.

2. Aiseesoft DVD Ripper: PCAiseesoft DVD Ripper: Mac ($35)

Still not sure how to pronounce, but it does just what it says; it rips DVDs. It’s not as robust as the Toast or DVDFab products, but it works well, it’s fast, users seem to like it and it has a great price point. It even offers some basic editing functionality and a whole host of different file format/container options. Therefore it’s worthy of being in the top 5.

3. Daniusoft DVD Ripper: PC & Daniusoft DVD Ripper: Mac ($40)

We’re not sure why you charge the PC people an extra $0.95, but ours is not to question why.  And, we like these guys because they have a good product and they support both Mac & PC.  They only offer a product trial download of the PC version, which you can get here.

Next Up: Free Options

1. Handbrake - Mac & PC Options (FREE)

This is the favorite of the free options in our office - it works for both our ‘Mac people’ and our ‘PC people’, and the interface is pretty clean once you figure out what settings you like to rip with.  They offer both a GUI interface and a command line interface, but if you knew me at all, you’d know that I am entirely unprepared to comment on or use a command line interface for pretty much anything.

2. MPEG Stream Clip - Mac & PC Options (FREE)

I would be remiss to leave out MPEG Stream Clip - Jeff & Brittanie would be particularly upset with me as they’re long-time film/video folks and big fans of this powerful little ripper.

Last: Recommendations we’ve received from Trusted Sources but haven’t used ourselves

1. Wondershare DVD Ripper (PC - $40) & Wondershare DVD Ripper (Mac - $45)

Wondershare has been in the DVD ripping business for a while, too.  The Wondershare tools are also thankfully available to both Mac & PC users - phew! Depending on what you’re looking to do, you may want to upgrade to the”suites” that package the Wondershare DVD ripping offerings with video conversion applications (DVD Ripper & Video Converter Suite for PC and DVD Ripper & Video Converter Suite for Mac) that will enhance the value of the software package for you.

Wondershare prides itself on the speed of its conversion & ripping programs.  We’re told it has also done a tremendous amount of work on the user interface.  If you’d like to check it out (and you’re using a PC), you can download a trial version of Wondershare’s DVD ripper program  here.

2. iOrgsoft DVD Ripper - PC & iOrgsoft DVD Ripper - Mac ($39)

iOrgSoft is a newcomer to our list, but we’ve gotten really good reports on them from a number of folks that have tested their products out.  And, as with Wondershare, a free trial version is available to test before purchasing through a trial download - if you’re using a PC.  You can get the PC DVD ripper trial here and the Mac DVD Ripper trial here.

Okay, think that’s it for now.  Happy Ripping!

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Congratulations (again) to Professor Edward Burger!

by Huntley in General / 10.20.10

The Huffington Post is in the midst of recognizing ~100 visionaries, ‘Game Changers’ and innovators across 12 different categories. Most recently, they focused their spotlight on the education segment and profiled 8 different individuals that are making fundamental changes in the education space. One of these was Professor Edward Burger, who has won over the hearts and minds of many with his engaging math video lessons.

Edward Burger worked with Thinkwell to create several different interactive and video-based math courses. His particular style of instruction is especially conducive to video given that he’s remarkably engaging. He’s truly a gifted instructor, as witnessed by the fact that he was recently honored with the Robert Foster Cherry Award for Great Teaching.

While he’s currently ranked #2 among the nine nominees, we’d love to see him take home this well-deserved honor for all of the work he’s doing in the education space. You can vote for him and learn more about the other nominees on the Huffington post here. As anyone who has ever watched one of Burger’s videos can attest, he’s a force to be reckoned with when it comes to Math education!

If you haven’t had the opportunity to check out any of Professor Burger’s videos, you should definitely do so. You can check these out in Burger’s math video tutorial store and learn more about Professor Ed Burger at his Burger Math site.

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Shopify (or Volusion or Big Commerce) for Selling Streaming Video Access?

by Huntley in General / 08.11.10

I was talking to someone this week about what MindBites is and what it enables you to do - sellgraphicI take great pride in my one-minute and five-minute elevator pitches on the MindBites platform and my extended spiel on the history of our marketplace and the evolution of our MindBites platform offerings. They, however, summed it up pretty nicely by saying that we were “Shopify for people who wanted to sell access to streaming video… or, if you’d rather, Big Commerce for streaming video or Volusion for streaming video.” I tend to shy away from describing what we do in the context of what another company does, but that’s pretty accurate.

The e-commerce models created by Shopify, Big Commerce, Interspire, Volusion, CoreCommerce and others are designed to easily equip both normal and web-savvy people with the tools they need to setup and run an e-commerce store online. These companies have done a fantastic job with the products they offer, but their models don’t lend themselves to streaming video as well as physical products, like books, T-shirts, trinkets or DVDs. The reason for this is that their pricing models weren’t set up to offer these types of products - you don’t want to pay for the bandwidth costs for streaming videos via bandwidth overages. Further, these players aren’t well-equipped to ingest, manage and deliver streaming digital video assets, especially with the complications that inevitably arise between browsers that support flash and mobile devices that don’t. That said, most of these types of solutions have add-ins or options that are pretty proficient if you just want to sell digital downloads. Unfortunately, the digital download model isn’t as appealing for users. They want to preview your video before they buy to get a feel for what they’re signing up for, and they also want to watch the video they purchased immediately online and on-demand. Exhaustive A/B testing on consumer video buying behaviors has definitely shown this to be the case. Thus, MindBites is a great option for those with video content that they’d like to sell access to online.

Just as you can with an e-commerce/cart provider, you can easily create a video-on-demand store to bolt-on to your site with MindBites. This store can be skinned to integrate into your existing website such that users are treated to the same look/feel and the same branding that they see on your site. You control all sorts of aspects of this store - everything from design elements like layout, colors, images, logos, etc to content management elements like content selection, category setup, product display order, etc.

While there is some slight variation in how pricing models work for e-commerce providers like Shopify and Big Commerce, the MindBites platform offerings are a quite different. With MindBites, there is a revenue share that’s much more considerable than what you would usually get from Shopify. To understand why this is the case, it helps to understand how pricing works in general for MindBites. First, if you’re wanting a MindBites-powered custom store, you’ll need to sign up for some level of the MindBites platform, which will come with a fixed monthly pricetag. These prices start at $14 per month and go up from there. If you don’t sell anything through your store in a given month, this is the only cost you’ll incur. Thus, even if you upload a bunch of content and it’s previewed a ton (but never purchased), this is all you’ll pay despite the fact that we will have incurred bandwidth costs for processing your videos and serving up preview versions of them in addition to storage costs. Bandwidth costs are, by far, our largest cost for serving our customers, and presuming your content sells, these costs generally scale up as your revenue scales up. To cover these costs, we take a cut of your revenues rather than capping your bandwidth usage and charging you massive bandwidth overages anytime your sales figures out-perform your estimates. Thus, our portion of your generated revenues cover the costs of bandwidth to serve your content as well as an assortment of other costs, including payment processing, storage, customer support, and affiliate payouts in the event that one of your videos is sold through the MindBites marketplace courtesy of an affiliate referral. So, instead of tagging you with bandwidth caps and bandwidth overage charges that would inevitably surprise you, we try to keep it very simple. You’ll always be able to know exactly how much you’ve earned, and you’ll never be surprised with extra charges at the end of the month from us. Further, with MindBites, you can get started really easily - you don’t need to hassle with merchant accounts or payment gateways. Instead, we handle all of the payment mess on your behalf and you get paid out simply and easily through PayPal (almost immediately whenever you request payment, which you can do anytime your earnings balance is above $25).

If you one day decide that you want a more robust solution than the offerings that are available through the basic MindBites platform options, we can do that, too. Our MindBites Solutions team has worked on deals with various Enterprise content partners that wanted to integrate with their own media accounts or payment gateways, wanted to use their own subdomains, wanted to substantially modify store layout options, wanted to stipulate different media processing specs, etc. Typical MindBites Solutions engagements usually start out with up-front costs starting at $10K, which goes up as the level of complexity and the custom development requirements increase.

Many of our MindBites Solutions content partners started out with a basic platform level such that they could experiment with how their content would be received by customers and what consumer buying behaviors and conversion rates would look like on their custom store. Then, as needed, we incrementally worked with them to move towards a more customized solution once they had a feel for what they wanted to change or add and once they were confident that the revenue generation potential of the store would be well-worth the investment. Ready to get started? Get some nitty-gritty details from our sell your videos page and pick your platform level to get to work creating your custom store. Just think - you can have your store up, ready and selling access to your video content today! The hardest part will be getting your videos uploaded, which admittedly will just involve dragging, dropping, and clicking upload.

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Tezoro Case Study: Offering Your DVDs Online & On-Demand

by Huntley in General / 07.19.10

Tezoro Productions began with the dream of bringing the essence and brilliance of a dance class at Broadway tezoro_squareDance Center into the living rooms and studios of dance students worldwide. For years, dance students of all ages and levels have yearned to be a part of the excitement that could only be found by traveling to New York City and studying with a faculty whose choreographic credits include video, stage, television, film, rock tours and of course, Broadway! Thus, Tezoro started serving these students all over the world by producing a line of LIVE at Broadway Dance Center DVDs, which feature step-by-step instruction from their world-class instructor corps. Their DVDs are professionally-produced and -edited and are designed with the dancer in mind, featuring camera angles facing the mirror to replicate the feeling of dancing in a studio/class setting. Detailed tips and helpful instructions from the choreographer, as well as the use of assistant dancers to watch alongside the instructor enhance the consumer’s experience.  Their instructional dance video content covers all styles and aspects of dance, so if you’re looking to learn Hip-Hop dance moves, master contemporary dance, improve your contemporary jazz dance technique, hone your floorwork skills with some dance routinesdiscover the b-boy or b-girl in you with some breakdancing (breaking) lessons, experiment with neat fusion dance styles like Latin Jazz, then their video line is something you should definitely check out.

Tezoro has always been at the cutting edge of dance instruction. They were early in the introduction of the LIVE DVD line, which enabled students all over the world to learn from their instructors. Similarly, they recognized early on that their customers were increasingly wanting an on-demand option online. Thus, in lieu of waiting for a DVD to arrive in the mail, their customers wanted to purchase access to different portions of their video content and be able to watch it immediately. This is how MindBites and the phenomenal team at Tezoro initially came together. With MindBites, Tezoro was able to accomplish a few different objectives. First, they were able to add a secondary sales channel online by selling their dance video lessons through the MindBites marketplace. Second, they were able to use the MindBites custom store functionality to sell on-demand access to their dance videos via their own site. Thitezoro-storerd, they were able to break up their content to offer it in pieces, where applicable. Thus, a DVD by Mandy Moore on dance progressions that was 60 minutes long can now be made available as 3 separate 20-30 minute dance lessons and as the full 60+ minute progressions series with Mandy Moore. Some customers may only want to buy one or two of these lessons, so they are easily accommodated. For those that are interested and inclined to purchase all 60 minutes of the content from the DVD, a series is created from the 3 20-minute lessons to enable them to do just that.

The folks at Tezoro really have all of the bases covered when it comes to dance instruction.  They do a phenomenal job with their videos, which touch on everything from dance instruction


for 3 and 4 year olds to dance videos for slightly older kids (8+) to video content on health and nutrition specific for dancers to dance instruction videos to help you master partner lifts and turn and turn combos on the dancefloor

Be sure to check them out - not only are they impressive on the dancefloor and behind the camera, but they’re also on the forefront of dance instruction as the web evolves in ways that enable anyone from anywhere in the world to learn with the aid of video lessons that feature world-class instructors and top-tier instruction.

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