MindBites is an online video site in which regular people share the knowledge they have in a particular field. For a small fee a user can then download or stream a video and learning something new.
I sat down and spoke with MindBites chief executive Jason Reneau at the South By Southwest Interactive Festival in Austin, TX, where his company is based. Reneau was excited about the place video sharing sites such as YouTube have taken us in terms of digital self publishing. With mass adoption taking hold, he felt MindBites is coming along at just the right time to fill a certain roll.
”People have so many interesting things to share — and they want a way to do it,” Reneau told me. After watching a video in which a man named Mr. Howling Wolf teaches knife throwing (see a preview below), I am certain Reneau is right. The real question is, will people pay to watch when there is so much free content out there?
The site utilizes a credit system for users to purchase videos. All of the videos are one credit currently and a credit varies in price from $1.69 to $1.99 depending on how many credits you buy at a time. This price structure is similar to the one Apple has in place for TV show and music videos on iTunes. For every video sold, a dollar goes back to the video’s author — which they can choose to keep or give away to charity.
Each video can be previewed on the site (a 60-second clip), and if a user buy the video they can either watch them via a Flash player on the site or download the file that will play on any media player including an iPod.Competitors in this field include VideoJug, ExpertVillage and Howcast, but Reneau thinks there is enough room for all of them as there is currently a $10 billion industry for learning new things.
We’ve all seen instructional videos before, there is something inherently bland about them. MindBites hopes to change that by infusing the more personal styling of Internet video with teaching. There are also some very specific videos that no one is likely to make a professional how-to guide for, such as fixing a treadmill. Oh yes, and knife-throwing.
The MindBites site has been live for a few months following a soft launch, but has had no promotion for it yet. Today marks its official launch as well as the announcement of a funding round of just over $1 million led by True Ventures. John Burke of True Ventures has joined MindBites Board of Directors as well.