We’ve covered quite a few companies that offer online collections of how-to videos, most recently WonderHowTo and 5min. Today, Howcast is the latest to join the fray, and it hopes to differentiate itself by featuring four different ways of getting high-quality content on the site, a clean interface, how-to wikis, and some other bells and whistles.
The New York company curates a library of videos that it produces (example, above, “How to Fake Being Sick.”), or that partner companies produce, or that users add for free, or that it pays the most talented users to produce. It displays these videos in a standardized video player that includes tools for organizing videos into step-by-step guides such as an intro that tells you what materials you might need, a way to jump to segments of a video, a way to zoom in to see specific details of how an instructor in a video does something, and a transcript of the video for you to reference.
The site also offers features you’d expect from a video site — ways to comment on others’ videos, option to vote on favorite videos, see a scrolling display of relevant videos even while you watch a particular video, etc.
Howcast was founded by Jason Liebman, Daniel Blackman and Sanjay Raman, who previously worked at Google Video, then YouTube. These guys are applying lessons learned at these sites to develop a community and monetize well.
The company hopes to spur users to develop their own videos together by including a wiki where they can collaboratively write how-to guides that can be turned into scripts, it tells us. It also plans to pay $50 for videos that it accepts into its “directors program” and share half the revenue generated from a video after it is viewed 40,000 times.
By carefully monitoring the quality of videos on the site, the company promises brand advertisers a way to get their ads in front of viewers without adding the sloppy and/or risqué aspects of, say, many YouTube videos. The company already has deals with advertisers lined up. Jet Blue is sponsoring travel videos, for example. It also has a channel on YouTube.
It won’t offer ads that interfere with the user experience, including pre-roll ads, which are video ads that run before a video starts playing. Instead, types of ads may include flash overlays, that are relevant to the topic of the video, based on the site’s taxonomy for organizing types of videos.
The company has raised $8 million in funding from Tudor Investment Corp.