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Old January 2nd, 2006, 07:37 PM   #1
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Location: Boca Raton, Florida
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I am slowly getting more and more intrigued with the idea of web casts. I currently produce a television series on a Florida based network. The cost of my time buy is getting higher and I am getting less value. It started off $1,000 an episode; they received 1:30 of commercial time and included CC for my show. Over the past year they took an additional 1:30 of ad time totaling 3min. and will not provide CC this year and raised my cost to $1,500 an episode.

On top of that, two of my sponsors called to inform me that network sales reps. had contacted them trying to sell ad time for the network, including time during my show. Luckily my Sponsors are great and extremely loyal and turned down their offer.

So on to my point. I am a niche show that is based around Scuba and Freediving. The series did very well compared to the surrounding shows in the block. I squeezed by the first year with hardly any budget. Let me be clear “No Budget.” I received enough sponsorship to buy the airtime, insurance, and gas for the boat. I cannot financially do this again, especially if I am competing with the network I buy the air time from.

So what I was thinking, was going to strictly web cast. My show would actually get a better viewing audience world wide. Let’s face it, advertising is all about eyeballs. I could provide more coverage at a better cost to my sponsors. At least that is the theory.

I currently changed my site over to Mambo, which is great, and purchased MosMedia. It is a great little media publishing plug-in. prevents leaching, downloads and is easy to update and control. So regardless if I stay with the network I can provide the show to other countries.

Does anybody have any advice for web casting or experiences they could share? Maybe some do’s and don’ts for a newbie, like bandwidth issues, bit rate preferences, format, audio, length of clips etc...

Joseph W. Carney Jr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 2nd, 2006, 07:39 PM   #2
Capt. Quirk
Join Date: Apr 2002
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All I have to say, is if SurfGuru.com could pull off live Surf fest feed, you should have no problem. Some of the stuff they did bordered on ridiculous.
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Old January 2nd, 2006, 07:41 PM   #3
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I am also very interested in the webcasting tv possibilities, especially bandwidth/cost issues. I'd like to make a little TV show on the side if it is affordable.
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Old January 2nd, 2006, 07:52 PM   #4
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For a low budget tv show the cost for broadcasting are mainly on the time buy, insurance, Closed-Captioning, tape stock and if they are still behind the times, a Beta SP transfer ($90 a pop.) Other than that, it is up to you. I write the show, film 90% and edit it so I could cut a lot of labor cost I also own all my own equipment, but even I worked for free. Acid music saved me about $4k in music cost last year.

My goal is not to stream live, but stream a series for a week, then another and so on. Just like the traditional broadcast season. Then sell DVD's of the season the following year. I receive the traffic on my site for it to work. But I am not familiar with the Band-width issue and how much i will need. It would suck to get going and then get hung up because of overuse.
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Old January 4th, 2006, 01:19 PM   #5
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Carlsbad CA
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scuba diving in florida? do you happen to know don landis, he's a pro videographer down there who i believe did a series of cave diving videos awhile back.

what i would do if i were you is get advertising to pay for putting it on the web, especially since you have a sponsor already... you can also monitize the content with other online ad opportunities, that are just now starting to take off... this is a brave new world.

what i did was rent my own unmanaged windows media server, it's $167/mo. for 1200 gigs/mo. of bandwidth... start off by doing your homework at the dedicated server forum at www.webhostingtalk.com

you'll probably want to start off by setting up the footage as a streaming video episode, not necessarily as a webcast per se, because of the peak bandwidth constraints that come with scheduled webcasts, but anything is possible, especially as the site grows bigger... you can set up multiple windows media servers, that alternate between each other as requests come in from a central website.

you can also pay-per-stream, which isn't as cheap... the best option is to pay akamai or similar for multi-point hosting, but that may have to come later down the line.

getting ranked in the search engines can be critical, which means that you may need hard-coded url's... does that mambo/mosmedia allow for hard-coded url's?
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Old January 4th, 2006, 03:20 PM   #6
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Thanks for the advice. You are right on the streaming video. I used the wrong terminology on my original post. Since I shoot 75% underwater it would make it rather hard to do a live webcast. And it would be better to spread out the viewing time.

I will definitely check out the server forum you referenced. I am very new to this and can use any info. My current providers quote is around $1600 a month for “Un-metered” but I think there are some hidden charges. My files are anywhere from 80 mb to 120 mb. But renting for the time being sounds pretty good. Can I just upgrade as I need. Or purchase two or three rentals and alternate them.

Also what does the term "unmanaged" mean when talking about a server.

Mambo does not do hard coded Urls, it is PHP based. But I have search engine friendly Urls, and Dynamic page titles.

With the text Offshore Hunters I come up first on searches. I just have to work on getting the bots to index the rest of my site. Any information I link on my front page comes up in a search.

In addition I have the ability this season to promote the site during the show. I keep a :30 spot for my own, to promote OH products and events. So I have a good way to drive traffic and build an audience. I cannot say whether I want to get off the air 100% yet, but it would be nice to bring in additional ad revenue by reaching further out.

My show airs on SunSports Net at a great time, which covers all of Florida and Nationwide to Direct TV owners. But let’s face it, the channel is so high up on Direct TV most non-Floridians will not find it. And I have been turned down by a lot of Sponsors for the fact that they can not watch the show from California.

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Old January 4th, 2006, 05:33 PM   #7
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Carlsbad CA
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what some people do is put on a webcast, but not make it live... just schedule it like you would a tv show, which means that there would be a giant bandwidth spike come show time.

plan on spending quite a few hours doing searches on that forum, the managed vs. unmanaged question comes up all the time, as does the unmetered bandwidth issue... some dedicated server providers handle it differently than others do, so the pricing can be all over the map.

there are some free webmaster tools for search engines at http://www.digitalpoint.com/tools/keywords/ ...you don't want to do a google.com search for "offshore hunters", rather, you should search for the terms that you want people to use when they are looking for your products and information... those pages of yours should be first in the search results, ahead of similar pages from your competitors... it's called "search engine optimization".

what you need to do is to carefully study the server logs that you have now, and see exactly where your web traffic is coming from, and what search terms people are using to find your website... you will need decent web traffic to make money, so the question is, how many unique url's are you seeing per month? and how many page views per month? ideally, you should be able to rattle that info off from memory... can you choose your own custom page titles with mambo?

when i do a search at google.com for "allinurl:OffshoreHunters.com", i see 238 pages from your website... however, it appears that every single one of 'em has the same page title "offshorehunters.com"... that is death in the search engines, ideally every page would be titled with those important keywords that you want people to search for.

for instance, "spearfishing" is a word that you want people to find your website under... it only brings up 377,000 search results on google.com, but it is searched for 238 times a day, which means that someone could be making money off of it on the web.

this subject matter is something that is not discussed out here, so i guess that it'll all sound like pig latin to most people :-)
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