YouTube has launched a powerful API that enables publishers to broadcast video content using their own skin and specifications direct from their own web sites--free. The co-branded API is being pitched at businesses, but also threatens the many video providers that service the custom-player market.
The no-cost service enables publishers and enterprises to effectively outsource the pain of video delivery to Google's robust video delivery infrastructure and will be a boon to firms seeking to deploy video for training and in-house comms. Externally it offers enterprises a branded player with a powerful set of recommendation and other features and potentially enormous distribution to promote and inform.
The offer of what is, in practice, free video hosting is possibly very disruptive to other professional video-hosting platforms such as Move, Brightcove and Yahoo's Maven Networks. While Google says it is not a white label exercise, in reality the co-branded API takes away both the complexity and cost of video delivery.
The API represents a major evolution for the user-generated site. It moves YouTube from a (hugely popular) destination platform to being a highly advanced video publishing infrastructure available to business and publishers alike.
New features in the API include the ability to add and edit user and video metadata as well as localized feeds for the 18 international markets YouTube supports.The new API comes as YouTube is testing HD delivery and as it promises to provide a real-time player later this year. To see the H.264 encoded clip in action compare these low- and high-quality versions of Tillman the skateboarding dog!
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