Julian Clover speaks to the founders of an instructional video library that will deliver how to films to mobile phones
A few months ago there was a leak in my bathroom roof, the result is a mark where the water got in, and a pencil line I put in to check the leak had been fixed. In theory it should be straightforward to seal the area and paint over it until the ceiling is good as new. Not being the most confident DIYer in the business I should probably consult my Reader’s Digest book first, but the newly launched HowTo.tv is putting an alternative solution forward. The company has on demand video advertising channel that is making advertising funded instructional videos available over the internet, and perhaps more practically for bathroom work as a WAP application.
Howard Kosky, the company’s MD and co-founder, says HowTo.tv is looking to capitalise on the ubiquity of broadband TV and mobile devices. “On behalf of a brand we’ll produce an editorial video, so that if you have a time of need such as a puncture on a bicycle, you’ll be able to download a short three to five minute video on how to fix it.” A number of videos are currently sitting on the website and these are now being encoded to a format suitable for delivery over WAP.
Russell Goldsmith, co-founder and digital director, says there will also be an opportunity for user generated content to be added providing it meets with editorial standards. “We want to ensure that the website will only show broadcast quality content from people that can be considered as experts,” he says. Kosky adds that the very use of the letters TV in the brand brings with it an expectation of quality. “This is not an exercise about mass eyeballs, this is about maintaining production values and the level of quality you see as a consumer.”
Already the site has videos from the DIY chain Wickes, explaining how to lay a wood floor or to change a kitchen work surface. “While you can watch it on your PC we’re encouraging viewers to download it and take it away with them and watch it on your iPod. This gives Wickes the opportunity to engage with their audience while they are carrying out the task.”
Goldsmith explains that one of the advantages of delivering their content over the Web is that it is not covered by Ofcom regulations, allowing a greater amount of product placement that would be allowed on a linear channel, though conscious of a media savvy audience the freedom is not being abused.
The consumer will receive the content free of charge, subject to any bandwidth charges imposed by their operator. For the company that is contracting the video there is a production charge and small fee per download, but a key revenue stream comes when the consumer opts in for further services.
In addition to Wickes there are videos on subjects as diverse as parenting, cycling, cooking and gardening. Kosky says that while the how to format could work on an IPTV or cable network as a video-on-demand service, it is the portability aspect that is the key selling point.