BBC Enables Video Embedding, Sets Good Example for You and Me

BBC News and Sport are beginning to enable you to embed their videos on to your own site.

Below is an example of an embedded video. It’s hosted by the BBC, who also take care of the streaming too. (The story happens to be about cybercrime, I’ve included it purely as an illustration of the technology –┬áthe range of embeddable videos is still small while the scheme is being rolled out.)

Technically it’s always been possible to embed BBC videos elsewhere (in a cheeky fashion – you just grab the code).

But this change of policy is a good move – by actively encouraging and helping people to embed the videos and discuss them it will increase the BBC’s presence around the web, including on blogs like this one.

In order to embed a video, you go to the original story page. Let’s take the example I embedded above. If you click share, you’ll be presented with the following code which you then copy and paste into your website/blog. (You don’t have to understand every tag in order to use it.)

<object classid=”clsid:d27cdb6e-ae6d-11cf-96b8-444553540000″ width=”512″ height=”400″ codebase=”http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=6,0,40,0″><param name=”allowFullScreen” value=”true” /><param name=”allowScriptAccess” value=”always” /><param name=”FlashVars” value=”config_settings_showUpdatedInFooter=true&amp;playlist=http://news.bbc.co.uk/media/emp/7930000/7938900/7938949.xml&amp;config=http://news.bbc.co.uk/player/emp/config/default.xml?1.3.105_2.10.7938_7967_20090310160409&amp;config_settings_language=default&amp;config_settings_showFooter=true&amp;config_plugin_fmtjLiveStats_pageType=eav6″ /><param name=”src” value=”http://news.bbc.co.uk/player/emp/2.10.7938_7967/player.swf” /><embed type=”application/x-shockwave-flash” width=”512″ height=”400″ src=”http://news.bbc.co.uk/player/emp/2.10.7938_7967/player.swf” flashvars=”config_settings_showUpdatedInFooter=true&amp;playlist=http://news.bbc.co.uk/media/emp/7930000/7938900/7938949.xml&amp;config=http://news.bbc.co.uk/player/emp/config/default.xml?1.3.105_2.10.7938_7967_20090310160409&amp;config_settings_language=default&amp;config_settings_showFooter=true&amp;config_plugin_fmtjLiveStats_pageType=eav6″ allowscriptaccess=”always” allowfullscreen=”true”></embed></object>

Of course, other video streaming sites have allowed and encouraged this for years. Seasoned bloggers and webheads may quip that “BBC embedding 2009 = YouTube embedding 2005”. But to be fair to BBC, they have had “a huge number of tricky little issues to sort out and most of these have been complex business issues around rights, terms and conditions, etc.” (quote).

This also illustrates a good principle. Making a success of the web means not only having a good destination site but also having a good web presence.

It’s now considered somewhat precious to want to “own” visitors and insist they come to your website first. You will spread awareness of yourself and and actually drive future visits to your site by giving stuff to other sites.

In practice, you may not have your own video player like the BBC. But if you’ve uploaded video on sites such as YouTube, Vimeo, Blip.tv or Viddler, then make sure embedding is enabled. It will multiply the potential audience by several factors of ten AND probably bring more people to your site anyway.

I cannot think of a single good reason not to allow embedding on a video. Universal Records, the largest record label in the world, appear to have disabled embedding on their official YouTube videos. If you can explain this decision, feel free to comment below or contact me.

Even if your primary focus is not video, the more general principle is engagement with other sites. I feel another blog post emerging, mmm. I’ll explore it more next week.

(As it happens, YouTube have been in the news this week regarding a separate issue – their disagreement with PRS, who represent song publishers and composers. Robert Andrews at paidContent summarises the complexities of such deals, while Rhodri Marsden at the Independent gives an insightful view from a songwriter’s perspective.)