While news sites are very quick to highlight some of the big websites that are making their video content available for the iPad, what about all of the smaller content owners who don't have the resources or money to make that happen? All the talk on the web is about what CNN, New York Times and the other big broadcasters or news sites are doing, yet each day, the majority of websites I visit aren't in the top 50 list of largest portals on the web. What about all of the small and medium sized websites? Why is no one talking about how Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) lack of support for Flash will impact them?
At StreamingMedia.com, we have roughly 2,500 hours of video in our portal. Video is a big portion of our business, yet it would cost us roughly $15k to have all of our videos re-encoded for the iPad. And we're a small site, with not nearly as much video content when compared to some of the mid-size portals. In addition to the cost for encoding, we'd also have to spend additional dollars and time to make our website available on the iPad, a cost we simply could not afford.
While the large portals can afford to be iPad-ready, most video based websites are not going to be able to spend the money to reach a yet undetermined audience for a device that may or may not sell into the multi-millions in the first year. How can a site like ours justify spending upwards of $25k to support just one device on the market? While many large sites have said they will provide support for the iPad, what about sites like Zappos that by the end of this year, will have 50,000 product videos? Or how about eBay? They allow sellers to create and upload their own videos, yet I don't see them rushing to support the iPad as of yet.
For all the talk of how good the "user experience" is on the iPad, I wonder how so many people have forgotten so quickly the enormous reach that video has on the web today. Nearly every website I visit, large or small, has some form of video. What kind of user experience is the iPad going to provide when only the largest websites can display their video content? As a content owner, I want my content to be available via a web browser on as many devices as possible. Having someone like Apple tell content creators that iPad owners can only access their content if they jump through hoops and spend money for development, simply because Apple does not want to support technologies that are already ubiquitous, is bad for both content creators and consumers.