So Simple a Writer Can Do It

Voxilla’s publisher Marcelo has been bugging me for a while about video production. We should be ‘content producers,’ he says, not writers.

I’m game. God knows, it probably increases my employability to be a ‘content producer ‘ instead of a ‘writer.’ The Gutenberg age is, like, so over — right?

Of course, given that my immediate job is keeping the Schuk family enterprise fiscally afloat, it’s hard to find time to play around with video production. And having been around more than 20 years of Silicon Valley next-big-things, I’m in no hurry to get on the bandwagon. Remember trying to use Mosaic? In time, things get easier.

However, the folks at must have been listening in on those conversations with Marcelo because last week they launched their IPTV broadcast site for producing and distributing your own shows.

The two year-old San Francisco startup has taken the YouTube model several steps further by extending it to any content — video, audio, still photos, it will even make a slide show for you — letting you create your own channels as well as shows, doing everything online or on a mobile phone, and connecting audiences directly via IM while they’re watching.

“Kyte combines three big trends,” explains co-founder and CEO Daniel Graff. “User generated content, social networking, and mobile networks. You’re connected with your audience in realtime. It’s community-building around the metaphor [of TV].”

Oh, and makes it all blindingly simple into the bargain. If you can take a picture or send an email attachment, you’re a producer. It’s just that simple.

I can handle that.

“We don’t go for features,” Graff explains. “We could do many more features, but then who would use it? Probably 10 tech geeks. Less is more.”

The site works with drag-and-drop widgets. To start producing just click on “produce.” Select the widget for the kind of show you want to produce — slide show, video, picture, whatever. Select the files you want in your show. Give your show a name. Hit “Broadcast” and voila, you’re on the air.

It’s an easy way to share photos with other people; far superior to the multi-step gyrations of photo sharing sites or clogging email boxes with bloated file attachments. I made a slide show of my cat.

OK, so that’s not exactly inspired. But the point is that I could do it in less time than it’s taking me to write this. You can see my how-to-Kyte video right here.

You can paste the video into any website, with a copy-and-paste — they give you the code. You can also take pictures with your smartphone and send them to your channel directly; every channel has a unique address: does require a Flash plug-in, or ActiveX on Microsoft Explorer. (I’d vote for a player-less technology as a future enhancement.)

Graff has a history with leading — and sometimes bleeding — edge media. “Everything I’ve ever done is in the convergence of media,” he explains.

Back in 1999 Graff and co-founder Erik Abair launched the first MP3 jukebox at Later on at Philips he worked on the Streamium, Philips’ digital entertainment hub, introduced in 2001. “A couple of years early,” Graff says ruefully.

More recently, the team created the Producer interactive content platform, and started marketing it to broadcast and cable TV networks. Selling to broadcasters was a lengthy undertaking, Graff found. So he started thinking about selling to a bigger market — consumers.

“Why give producer tools just to broadcasters,” Graff says. “Why not make this simpler and give it to users?”

Prediction: Within months beats CNN to a scoop.