Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Fun with Viddler

Yesterday, Keith Olbermann devoted a segment on his show to the NFL's handling of the Ray Rice situation.  His belief is that any official involved in the "cover-up" should resign immediately.

Naturally, this clip wound up on Deadspin.  What caught my attention, though, was that Deadspin edited the post during the evening.  I think they originally uploaded the Olbermann clip using Viddler, then swapped it out.

Viddler is a video hosting platform, and Deadspin often uses it to embed footage which has recently aired on television.  It's a way to upload a video quickly without waiting for the copyright holder to provide an "official" version of the same clip.  This practice of swiping TV footage has resulted in at least one lawsuit for Deadspin:  They were sued last year by Dr. Phil's production company for uploading footage from his show before it could air in a majority of TV markets.

With regards to the Olbermann clip, I'm fairly certain Deadspin uploaded the clip using their Viddler platform, then replaced it with a YouTube clip once that became available.  I'm not saying this action violated copyright law.  I'm not even saying Keith Olbermann or the people working on his show would give a crap.  It just seems somewhat sketchy, especially in light of the aforementioned lawsuit.

Here are notes I made to show the chain of events.

The Olbermann YouTube channel uploaded the segment at approximately 6:13 P.M., eastern time. Deadspin managed to embed the segment with the Viddler platform at 5:27 P.M.  The show itself originally aired on ESPN 2 at 5:00 P.M..

I checked the Deadspin RSS feed a bit before 7 P.M., and it showed the Olbermann clip as formatted with the Viddler platform.  (See below.)  The length of that video was 6 minutes, 36 seconds.  The Deadspin RSS feed tends to run on a bit of a delay, and I expected it would later show the clip formatted with the YouTube player.  Sure enough, when I checked the RSS feed a couple minutes later, the Viddler version was gone, and in its place was the YouTube version.  (See below.)  The length of that version is 5 minutes, 24 seconds.

Here's a comparison of how the story looked on the RSS feed before and after 7 P.M.

Version 1 (Viddler):

Version 2 (YouTube):

If you can upload a segment from a TV show an hour before your competitors, it gives you an advantage in terms of going viral.  Your article will have a better chance of getting shared on Twitter, Facebook, Fark, etc...  It reminds me of how a stock trader might take advantage of a faster technology to get a leg-up on his competitors.

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