Howcast Launches ‘How To’ Video Site

I met with the founders of the newly launched Howcast (ex Google employees) last week. TechCrunch has a good overview of the site so I won’t reproduce a lot of the nuts and bolts details here. They also raised $8 million.

Believe it or not “instructional online video” is already a crowded and competitive segment, although most consumers don’t know these sites.

Howcast

I was impressed by the thought and design that had gone into the site and the service, and the overall quality of the videos, which are mostly professionally shot but will involve more user-generated video in the future.

The question is: will consumers turn to this site to “learn how” and will the videos bring meaningful informational content while entertaining. (Some of the videos I saw were very amusing.) Of course many of these will rank in search results (think video in Universal Search) so that will be a primary mechanism of discovery. But the founders already have some major partner and distribution deals (Myspace, YouTube, Verizon FiOS TV, Joost, and ROO) and have thought through all these issues pretty thoroughly.

The business model is advertising but they’re trying to be a bit more thoughtful about how to integrate sponsors (like jetBlue) and sponsored content without disrupting the user experience.

What’s also interesting here is that Howcast is building a TurnHere-like video production network that may turn out to be as valuable or more valuable than the consumer-facing site.

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2 Responses to “Howcast Launches ‘How To’ Video Site”

  1. Mark Alan Effinger Says:

    Interesting… if they decide to include optimized video tagging, they could certainly achieve some great search results… and reduce their cost of customer acquisition.

    Also: http://www.Lynda.com is conspicuously absent. We find it one of the very best DIY training resources for our company.

    Non-invasive advertising is a key. Let’s see how they pull that off.

    best,
    Mark Alan Effinger
    http://www.RichContent.com

  2. Laurence Hooper Says:

    Another site is http://www.MonkeySee.com, based in Northern Virginia. Whatever about traffic, I think it has the strongest name. 🙂

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