Digital Video Licensing Discussion Forum

A primary goal of the 22 September 2008 National Media Market meeting on digital video licensing will be to define and discuss the nature and range of models for licensing digital video on demand. The meeting will focus on exploring the present and future feasibility of various models in diverse institutional settings, as well as identifying the advantages of disadvantages of each for both distributors and librarians.

As preparation for this meeting, a white paper has been developed by Gary Handman (UC Berkeley) and Lawrence Daressa (California Newsreel) in an attempt to outline some of the central issues and challenges currently at hand in the digital video environment. This blog is intended as a means of responding to that paper. Input from participants will be moderated by G. Handman and incorporated into the draft white paper as appropriate.

The Digital Video Licensing White Paper for discussion at the 2008 National Media Market has been posted here

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30 Responses to Digital Video Licensing Discussion Forum

  1. Gary Handman says:

    Welcome to the Digital Video Licensing Blog!

  2. Matt Bailey says:

    In the white paper, the example of the Alexander Street Press products in the discussion of the “standing order” model is not accurate in my experience. In fact, the white paper doesn’t seem to address what I think is a very logical and equitable model based on an e-book or digital collections model: an institution pays a large “content fee” up front for an individual title or for a collection of titles that are hosted by the distributor and then pays a much smaller annual fee for hosting and access. The fees are based on the institution’s FTE. This is the model used by Gale’s Virtual Reference Library for e-books and by Alexander Street Press for, I believe, all of their collections. My library just bought access to ASP’s Dance in Video and Opera in Video and our annual access and hosting fee is currently 1% of the one-time, upfront content fee. For a Gale Virtual Reference title, we paid, well, a lot of money for the e-book (with which we received an XML backup file for archiving), but we pay only a $50 annual fee for Gale to host it and up to 9 other titles.

    This model is also used by several electronic resource providers of digital collections such as ProQuest (specifically their historical newspapers products) and Chadwyck-Healey (specifically their manuscripts and literature collections).

    This is one licensed content model that I can get behind. Asking libraries to pay more for less (a larger (double?) fee for a VOD file than for purchase of a DVD, but getting to use it for a limited term instead of for the life of the DVD) is, I’m sorry, laughable. Just because it’s easier to watch a documentary on your laptop in your dorm room than it is to go to the library and check it out on DVD does not mean that more people are going to do it and that the library should therefore be charged more for it. It’s about the content, not about how easy it is to get to it.

    Something like the dual-fee model above which allows for “in perpetuity” access but which provides some guaranteed annual income to the distributor seems much more equitable and reasonable. And educational and independent video distributors would do well to bring themselves more in line with providers of other digital content for libraries. The way things are heading these days, the less you conform to a standard model, the more likely you are to get short shrift from collection development folks.

  3. mrcstream says:

    Thanks, Matt. Good stuff!

    I’m a bit unclear on a few things, however, particularly the distinctions you’ve outlined between vendor-hosted collections/titles and locally-hosted. To my knowledge, Alexander St. files live “forever” on Alexander Street’s server…am I right? Or am I misunderstanding you? Are you saying you pay a big chunk up front for remote access, and then a smaller annual fee for remote access after that?

    One of the issues I have with models that center on vendor-hosted access is the possibly temporal nature of access. I get a bit nervous “building collections” over which I really have no long term control. The same holds true for pay-for-view paradigms. If the business of libraries is to ensure long-term preservation and access, throwing our fortunes in with remotely hosted collections is a bit of a crap shoot. In general, I’m not overly keen about letting someone else do my selecting for me–the “You Take What You Get” model. I’ve asked Alexander St. if they’re willing to license portions of the Theater on Video db (the BBC Shakespeare), for e.g. They aren’t… So, I end up getting a wad of stuff that’s likely never to be watched here, if I sign on.

    The licensing model you propose may work in this case (I think), but I’m not sure how viable it would be in the more common instances in which titles are selected one-by-one from individual vendors.

    By the way: I really have trouble with basing cost on institutional FTE. Talk about delusions of grandeur! If the assumption is that there’s a relation between FTE and the number of times a particular video title actually gets viewed…pretty delusional, indeed. Then again, my feeling has always been that the FTE model is simply a ploy for generally taxing the supposedly “big and rich.”

    Thanks for these insightful comments and for getting the discussion rolling.

    Gary Handman

  4. Matt Bailey says:

    You’re right about FTE, Gary. I’m just describing how this model is, though, not how it should be. It works great for a small liberal arts college with fewer than 2,000 students, but is obviously not workable for a major university (or even a larger 4-year college for that matter).

    Though the e-book and digital collections model I did cite normally allows an institution to acquire the content outright as part of the purchase (you usually get sent a CD-ROM or a bunch of backup tapes), the content remains vendor-hosted. We don’t host any e-books or digital collections locally. I don’t know of any video distributors who give you a DVD for perpetual access AND a streaming file (hosted remotely or locally) when you buy a title, but then I have never asked for it. The Alexander Street Press products are our first foray into licensed video-on-demand.

    For the Alexander Street Press products, the large, one-time, up-front fee is for the content and any future additions to the existing content. The smaller annual fee is for hosting and access to the content.

    I’m not a fan of the “you take what you get” model either, but I’ve grown accustomed to it because that’s the way just about every other electronic resource works these days. I may just want the life sciences journals from Science Direct, but I’m going to have to take the health sciences journals too, even though we don’t have a medical or nursing program. It’s like a la carte cable. Everybody wants to be able just to pay for the channels they watch, but the cable companies are never going to give it to you. So you get packages and tiers and end up paying $100 a month for the three channels you do watch.

  5. Matt Bailey says:

    Forgot to address the issue of how the model would work for those title-by-title purchases from individual vendors. Yes, this is a problem, and I really would not like to see a dozen different streaming media models from a dozen different distributors. I don’t know what the distribution side of this looks like, but it would be great if all of these independent distributors could get together in a consortium and provide access and/or hosting from a single provider. Imagine an iTunes Store for independent and educational film and video.

    But since these distributors have not even been able to offer centralized ordering and fulfillment for their products by now (and some of them still offer most of their inventory on VHS only!), I’m not optimistic this will ever happen.

  6. Michael Brewer says:

    All,

    I’m curious why rights for digital files can’t be sold in the same way they are for physical items. “In perpetuity,” in this context is really just the life of the format, which is not likely to be any longer than the life of an item we purchased in the past. This would also allow us to make the decision whether or not to repurchase the item/license when it comes out in a new format based on customer need. There might also be some agreement at the time of purchase that would allow for migration to a new format for ongoing, archival or scholarly single use use rights, though it seems pretty clear that 108 would allow for this, at least for onsite use. It might, though, be nice to broaden this access somewhat, if the title were not made available in a updated format.

    This, of course, only works in a model where the institution holds and serves out the content, rather than that being done by a vendor (like Alexander street press, etc.)

    Is there any reason this kind of model (licensing for the life of the format) would not work for filmmakers who make agreements with others to use 3rd party content (as they do now)?

    mb

  7. k stanton says:

    I would argue that VOD access isn’t solely value-adding just because of its online nature. There are a few things libraries often lose, specifically when hosting locally.

    1. Overall loss of image quality
    2. Loss of soft captioning
    3. Loss of chaptering
    4. Public performance rights – (not necessarily useful in the VOD context, but an added value that is usually associated with institutional pricing)

    Often, libraries are also digitizing inhouse and paying those associated costs. This is all in addition to the cost of managing and hosting the files. To provide VOD, libraries are taking on a number of new costs, which I think for the most part we have been willing to do. But if the library is going to be responsible for adding value back in (especially with content we may lose in 5 years) or accepting a loss of features, the price of digital rights should also reflect this.

  8. mrcstream says:

    Thanks for these insights–issues that haven’t been discussed previously.

    In terms of overall costs to the institution, I think it IS important to make the distinction between vendor-supplied and/or vendor-served files and those that are created locally.

    We’ve found that the staff time required to encode a single DVD into a streamed file (without extensive image tinkering or chaptering) is AT VERY LEAST the running time of the video PLUS another 1/2 hr to hour in fiddling around (creation of .asx files, ftp-to server, updating public access web site, etc). Not an inconsiderable cost to pay on top of the cost of licensing… It should also be mentioned that the technical processing (ordering, payments, cataloging, etc.) for ANY type of online content is considerably more complex and time consuming (and, consequently, more costly) than for other library resources.

    Your point about loss of image quality online is spot-on also. While I think that a “study-level” image will probably suffice for many documentary films (in which rhetoric and argument are often more important than image), for any visual studies discipline–film, art history, etc.–the image is central.
    Then again…I think the advent of mp3s, YouTube, and other popular online sources of media content have irrevocably shot standards for viewing/listening quality to hell…

    I think there are definitely possibilities for adding value to video access in an online environment. Films Media Group’s user front-end (which allows the creation and storage of “clips”, annotations, etc.) is pretty cool. My guess is that the costs of pulling this stuff off are going to restrict such augmentations to the largest of vendors, and doing this kinda stuff locally is equally cost-prohibitive in most cases.

    Gary Handman

  9. Tom says:

    Another issue with the vendor hosted paradigm is that you can lose the uniqueness of a collection. Matt alluded to this with his cable TV example. We get all the channels, so there is nothing unique about our particular set-up. Are the vendors going to be willing to cater to our unique needs, or just put out broad, general collections that (they think) will appeal to the most schools? I certainly have much more of a need to collect gaming (aka gambling, but we don’t use that word) materials than anyone else. In that model, what’s the incentive for a vendor to include videos that, say, 6 schools might be interested it?

    I’m not sure if loss of image quality is necessarily an argument against VOD. Maybe I’m overly optimistic, but the quality of online videos continues to improve (with the exception of youtube). I remember waiting forever for crappy movie trailers to load. Now, even the HD trailers take less time than before to load. In 5 years, the quality issue will be a moot point.

    Even with the so-so quality we now have, the ugly truth is that students watch assigned videos for content not quality. They watch so they can pass the quiz. Unless they are serious film studies students, in which case, the films they’re watching won’t be available online anyway.

  10. Gary Handman says:

    Thanks, Tom

    As is mentioned in the white paper, it seems to me that distributors are by necessity going to have to be flexible regarding the ways in which they deliver content. I think it’s possible to offer a panoply of options: a “core collection” (or collections) hosted by the distributor…a roster of titles hand-picked by the customer and hosted by the distributor; the option of digitizing and/or hosting content locally… Seems to me that forcing the market into one delivery mold is death. I also think that the economic models need to be similarly flexible: pay-per-view, subscription-based, etc. Institutional user needs and economic circumstances are simply too diverse to try a force a single option…

    Gary Handman

  11. Linda says:

    I think that there are some differences in the K-12 area. We are providing our schools access to individual titles and clips that reside on our server and to commercial packages. Our teachers are able to access these through our media catalog. This gives them one interface to be familiar with and one password to remember. We have coordinated with the commercial vendors so there is a seamless transfer once a teacher has logged in to our catalog. We are also dealing with standards and curriculum which cover all schools, so there probably isn’t as much need to have individual titles as in an academic situation. I have found that pricing of digital rights varies greatly depending on the producer/distibutor. The packaged resources (we have Learn360 and Discovery’s Powermediaplus) give us a a wide variety of resources. Our “circulation” for 2007-08 was 37% digital.

  12. Stephen Rhind-Tutt says:

    We’ve been following the posts to this discussion board with great interest at Alexander Street Press. Thanks to Gary and others for kicking off a helpful and thought-provoking conversation. We wanted to clarify a few points raised here about Alexander Street’s video collections and look forward to continuing the conversation in Kentucky…

    * We offer two pricing models: annual subscription and outright purchase of perpetual rights. Under the subscription model, libraries pay an annual fee and get access to all of the content for the years that they subscribe. Under the perpetual rights model, libraries pay a single up-front fee, giving them ownership of the content, plus a small annual access fee to cover the costs of Alexander Street hosting and streaming the content. To clarify, when a library buys perpetual rights to an Alexander Street video collection, they purchase the content itself. The collections reside forever on Alexander Street’s server, and on request we provide a physical copy of the content which a library can make available locally.

    * We agree with Matt Bailey: this is not a standing order plan, which implies a random aggregation of titles. All of Alexander Street’s collections are carefully curated by our editors who work directly with academics and librarians to shape the bibliography. We license the most important video content for the discipline (dance, opera, history, counseling) and provide an integrated resource designed specifically to meet research and teaching needs.

    * The other critical component of these collections is our use of Semantic Indexing. Extensive, discipline-specific controlled vocabularies enable very powerful browse and search capabilities that aren’t possible when you aggregate content from a wide array of disciplines (as with an i-Tunes model). This level of indexing lets users go straight to every cavatina in Opera in Video performed by a soprano in Italian, or every modern dance performed by the Merce Cunningham Dance Company in which a computer figures as an instrument–just for example. We allow access at the movement or scene level of a work rather than just the entire DVD. Our online collections are designed to enable wholly new ways of researching and teaching with video.

    * Gary points out the value of features like clip-making and sharing tools, annotations, searchable transcripts, course playlists, etc. He specifically mentions FMG’s use of these tools, but we offer all of the same features and then some, including:
    * synchronized, full-text transcripts of videos allowing you to search for a spoken word and jump directly to the second of video where it occurs.
    * secondary sources that let users read related narratives (a director’s commentary, for example) while watching the performance
    * an embeddable video player and embeddable playlists for use on a class Web site, course management system, or library subject guide.
    * the ability to add your own annotations to any video clip and share them with just your class, institution, or all other users.

    Finally, we would like to emphasize that we are open to working with licensors and libraries to develop video collections and licensing terms that make the most sense all around. The library community is a welcome participant in our publishing process, and we look forward to the discussion.
    —Stephen Rhind-Tutt, President, Alexander Street Press

  13. Gary Handman says:

    Thanks for the clarification, Stephen

    I’m still a bit unclear, however: if we were to buy perpetual rights and host the material locally (i.e. serve it out from our library’s server), why would we need to pay an annual access fee?

    Many thanks for your valuable addition to this conversation.

  14. Gary Handman says:

    oh yeah…I forgot to ask in my last post: Does the perpetual access model mean that one must license the entire collection (perpetually), or can one buy access to individual titles in the collection?

    Merci!

  15. Gary Handman says:

    Hi all

    If you haven’t checked out the report, “The Economics of Independent Film and Video Distribution in the Digital Age” yet, you should (read it HERE)

    Some chilling (for me) and wrong-headed stuff in there from filmmakers regarding the institutional market. For eg

    One filmmaker identified university libraries as his biggest current and potential
    market—and reminded us that universities are superb outreach partners, as they can
    afford to subsidize a filmmaker’s national tour by bring that filmmaker to campus. He
    questioned whether it makes sense to sell, according to the prevailing model today, DVD with a site license to a university for $300 to $1,000 dollars, only to see hundreds of students then watch the film—netting the filmmaker just “pennies” per viewing—and then seeing it becoming impossible to assign the film for purchase. Universities, several filmmakers told us, should begin to treat films more like print resources, and also as books and journals are being treated in the digital realm. Films sold into the educational market should be made available for download, streaming view, or subscription. They each would cost, say, $10 for a patch of time—much like an individual coursepack is priced—and be available in the equivalent of online bookstores, much as other assigned media is today. Many interviewees agreed that the current pricing and sales model for the education market “needs to change.”

    One filmmaker identified university libraries as his biggest current and potential
    market—and reminded us that universities are superb outreach partners, as they can
    afford to subsidize a filmmaker’s national tour by bring that filmmaker to campus. He
    questioned whether it makes sense to sell, according to the prevailing model today, a
    DVD with a site license to a university for $300 to $1,000 dollars, only to see hundreds of students then watch the film—netting the filmmaker just “pennies” per viewing—and then seeing it becoming impossible to assign the film for purchase. Universities, several filmmakers told us, should begin to treat films more like print resources, and also as books and journals are being treated in the digital realm. Films sold into the educational market should be made available for download, streaming view, or subscription. They each would cost, say, $10 for a patch of time—much like an individual coursepack is priced—and be available in the equivalent of online bookstores, much as other assigned media is today. Many interviewees agreed that the current pricing and sales model for the education market “needs to change.”

  16. Stephen Rhind-Tutt says:

    Gary,

    Thanks for your questions. In response…

    If you choose to buy perpetual rights and host the material locally, your library does not need to pay an annual access fee. Very few libraries, however, choose this option. Hosting locally without accessing our user interface at all means the library takes on the responsibility for storing, serving, and authorizing access to the raw video files. Relying on us to take care of that is often well-worth the access fee. Plus, accessing the videos through our user interface gives students and faculty the additional value of our searching, browsing, clip-creation, and annotation tools. Most libraries are attracted to the perpetual rights model as a way to make the content a permanent library holding even though they access it via our interface.

    The perpetual rights model is for the entire collection rather than individual titles. The terms of our licensing agreements with authors and publishers often don’t allow individual title sales. Also, it is counter to our mission to create curated discipline-focused collections tied together with expert indexing. – Stephen

  17. Gary Handman says:

    Hi Stephen, and thanks again for your input.

    I’m going to be absolutely frank here (and I’m talking conceptually and broadly, really…not specifically about Alexander Street Press).

    I think the curated model is a very interesting one—a paradigm which may well be just the ticket for some institutions. For example, I think that institutions with limited staff resources or collections serving the broad recreational and educational interests of a student or public user population might benefit from such a model. From the standpoint of a fairly large and well-established video collection serving a large and academically diverse research university, I find this model problematic on a couple of scores, however. It is highly unlikely that ANY “ready-made” collection, no matter how intelligently and diligently assembled by individuals or organizations outside of the buyer’s institution is going to be satisfactory across the board in terms of supporting curricula and research. In many ways, the unique and often spotty nature of the video “publication” universe, the frequently less-than-glorious funding for video collections in libraries, and the often high cost of curated packages militate for selection that is even more focused and cautious than for print materials. The ability to pick and choose specific titles based on known programmatic needs and demonstrated faculty research interests is crucial under such circumstances. This holds true regardless of the type of collection supported by the library–“just-in-time” (supporting specific curricula) or “just-in-case” (supporting the longer range research and teaching needs of the institution). Whether the collection is hosted locally or accessed remotely is really not the issue, either–effective collection development and responsible stewardship of institutional dollars is.

    While I can see definite benefits to the curated collection model (e.g. someone else suffers the headaches of negotiating licenses; the potential availability of useful videographic access tools, etc.), I would hope that the future of video licensing holds a panoply of options to meet unique institutional needs, rather than locking down things into one or two models

    I understand that Alexander St. folks might be attending the NMM. I look forward to having them join the discussion.

  18. Gary,

    I think we’re at the beginning here of many exciting models. I’m sure there’s a place for “pick and choose” just as I’m sure that curated collections have a place. I suspect there are/will be models for excerpts, for creating derivative works and much more besides.

    I did want to make a couple of points more about the curated model. Rights holders with multiple titles are more willing to license to us because they’ll get higher revenues. Packages also make it much easier for people to create and share playlists and other social networking features. Finally, we’ve tried very hard to find and license both the must-have standards in each discipline as well as the rare, lesser known works that aren’t available anywhere else, and we’ve had a lot of positive feedback about the value of this approach for research discovery.

    Looking forward to the discussion in Lexington.

    Best wishes,

    Stephen.

  19. Don Taylor says:

    Gary,
    It is interesting that Alexander Street Press is now offering “curated” collections. For some years now the K-12 market has been buying only “curated” collections. First it was United Streaming (now DiscoveryEd) then Library Video, Learn 360, HotChalk and others. It was all started by the PBS VideoDatabase of American History and Culture back in 1999. That was a simple and very low-tech index (print and on line) of a collection of VHS tapes.

    College librarians could not understand how K-12 teachers and librarians were letting the “book shelf cabinet makers” select the videos then sell em the “shelves” already loaded. The killer app, in K-12, was and is the indexing to individual state testing standards and making clips. Then also indexing by name, subject, nation . . . I know of only one K-12 district that has bought single digital video files. There must be others. College librarians thought – or thought at one time – that somehow librarians and professors should be involved in selecting videos, digital or hardcopy DVDs.

    Nevertheless, the Alexander Street Press model of making video collections into databases – curated – with very rich search functions may become the “killer app” for colleges. It certainly adds value to content and is a convenient way for content producers to participate in education without the hassle of engaging in the education marketplace directly.

    Hmmm . . . wonder if producers/distributors would index or make a small database of single titles? Like a table of contents found in the front of books and an index found in the back of books.
    All the best,
    Don

  20. Gary Handman says:

    In re to “ready-made” collections: I always trot out the myth of Procrustes: Attic highwayman who invited weary travelers to spend the night on his tiny little bed…and then cut off their heads and feet to match the size of the bed. I’ve always believed that acquisitions should be tailored to curricula and scholarly need…not the other way around.

    Gary

  21. Jeff Clark says:

    Gary & everyone in the NMM digital video licensing discussion,

    I regret not being able to participate in person this year. Otherwise, I might be on the road to Lexington as I write this.

    I’ve reviewed the”Digital Video Licensing” background paper and all your comments this past week.

    One idea right now, related to the need to be realistic about licensing options and pricing for academics.

    Couldn’t a task force or working group (sponsored by NMM) do the following?

    1. Representative distributors and academic institutions who use their product, would select valued titles from the catalogs of the former.

    2. This “collection” of titles would be offered for streaming from a central location that represents the collective distributors, and is accessed by participating institutions. An infrastructure using Shibboleth and InCommon might be workable. Viriginia’s VIVA library consortium currently uses this mechanism to distribute PBS Video programming it has licensed.

    3. Statistics would be gathered at the central serving location, and shared back with the institutions participating–so that usage would be reported in two places for participants.

    4. The trial might run an entire academic year.

    5. Cost to the academics to support this experiment, would be another major component to address. I’d foresee as nominal a cost for academic participant “licensing”–just for the period of the experiment–as possible. But their costs would need to help cover also the expenses of setting up the trial’s infrastructure.

    Surely an effort to devise and execute this idea–in *some* form–would give us hard statistics–instead of often only anecdotal impressions, from the academic and distributor sides. If we select programming that is already high-use in our collections, we’d see what comparable use it would get streaming online–and the reporting process would keep everyone informed directly.

    Jeff

  22. This has been a fascinating discussion and I look forward to continuing it tomorrow (Peter Cohn and I will both be there to represent New Day Films). Gary’s point that we should maintain an open mind about licensing options, because it’s not likely we’ll develop a one size fits all model, is very well taken. This echoes one of the decisions we made at our New Day annual meeting last June, where we decided to be as flexible as possible with our digital licensing options and cater to the needs of our best customers, university librarians. New Day Digital launched last February with a pay-per-view model, which was conceived of as an experimental added service for faculty and students, and certainly not meant to bypass the role of the librarian collection specialists. Perhaps in our rush to get our films online (in response to increasing requests for online access to our films) we didn’t fully appreciate the impact this might have on librarians, but we are coming to the DVL Discussion tomorrow to listen carefully and answer any questions you may have. Hasta mañana, Paco

  23. Congratulations Gary! The meeting was really well run and I found it to be extremely informative. I hope the discussion continues in this forum. Paco

  24. Gary Handman says:

    Hi all. This is in response to Jeff Clark’s interesting post. (Sorry you couldn’t join us in Lexington, Jeff…missed seeing you).

    I think the idea you’ve put forward is an interesting and sensible one. I agree that as an EXPERIMENT, it would be an interesting way of gathering hard data and experience. I do think, however, that your model has a number of potential pitfalls in the longer run. I hate to continuously pop off on the topic of pre-selected collections, but I must. An online collection that contained titles selected by the distributors (or even distributors in consort with users) is bound to satisfy the requirements of some libraries (but only some), some of the time (but only some). It is conceivable, for instance, to build a collection of popular titles–best sellers, if you will–but I know that at my institution, that would be likely to only satisfy a tiny portion of curricular need. Then what? We rely on remote access for the big hits and fend for ourselves with other titles? I don’t see how this model really buys us much in terms of diverse collection development needs. It’s also my guess that the distributors of indie doc works (and/or educational titles) are much much too proprietary to buy into this model. (Lack of branding is one issue, and lack of direct control over licensing might be another).

    Now, if the big three or four indie doc guys decided to put their entire catalogs online, accessible via a single portal and licensable on a title-by-title basis…THEN we’d be talking.

  25. Anna says:

    I’ve just read the white paper and the summary of discussion from the National Media Market. Thank you so much for putting this all together.

    I have a hard time understanding the 5-year nonrenewable license discussed in these documents. The reason given for a license being non-renewable is that the licenses that filmmakers have with musicians, etc, may be expired. I can see how this would be a problem with a subscription-based model. But this challenge seems moot when a library is purchasing or creating a digital file and hosting it locally. i.e. a one-time purchase. That is perfectly analogous to purchasing a DVD with a perpetual, life-of-format license. It wasn’t clear to me from the documents that this was an accepted assumption. Appreciate any clarification.

    Also, as someone mentioned above, caption and subtitle tracks are a real challenge in digitizing and streaming. I think we should try to not loose sight of the need for those features as we continue these discussions. How do distributors currently offering streaming services or digital files handle them? Are there open source or commercially available software solutions for this problem?

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