Well, this looks like an interesting concept – and definitely one worth investigating further if not actually supporting. I don't usually give much attention to crowdfunding products, let alone post an announcement or give my thoughts on one, but when I was approached by MediaZilla founder Jon Geddes about their campaign, I was intrigued to see where this was going. I think you may be as well.
What IS MediaZilla?
MediaZilla is a cloud-based media platform for storing, organizing, viewing, sharing or distributing your photos, music, videos and more – with a user-friendly interface that mimics a Blu-ray style menu for your collections.
So, how is this different from say, iTunes, iCloud, Vimeo, DropBox, etc?
First, let's look at the “problem” with this current media management as identified on their Indiegogo page:
IDENTIFYING THE PROBLEM
- Much of the platform's basic functionality, like watching purchased movies and TV shows, requires an Apple device and simply does not work on Android devices which make up close to 80% of the mobile market share.
- It has no ability to share user created content like you would with YouTube, Vimeo, etc.
- It has lackluster social media integration. It is primarily used to manage your personal media library and for purchasing media from the iTunes store.
- Apple created iCloud as a separate platform to address some of the lacking features in iTunes. Thus, managing your media with Apple is split across more than one platform.
- The sharing of media is limited to photos and videos, and managing shared content is fundamentally flawed. For example, when you share a video with someone else, that person cannot permanently add it to their own media library and will no longer have access to it if the creator deletes the file.
- Also, just like iTunes, Apple makes sure iCloud has limited support on Android in an effort to force users into the Apple ecosystem (better hope all your friends, family, and clients are using Apple devices as well).
- It does not support all your media and is only used for sharing and distributing videos.
- It lacks an easy to use menu system to showcase content making it a step backwards in technology from Blu-ray.
- Just like iCloud, if the creator of a video deletes the file or cancels his account, all those who were sharing it will no longer have access.
- It is not a platform for media, plain and simple. Drew Houston, the CEO of Dropbox eloquently stated that his company is not focused on being a platform for your entire media library.
- He voiced his opinion that other companies can do a much better job.
So What's the MediaZilla Solution?
MediaZilla provides a single platform to access, store, organize and share your media that's separate from all your existing resources. They offer user-friendly online menus that are easy to set up and use to share your media – whether you're a professional photographer/videographer giving proofs/albums to your clients or just sorting the family libraries. Media Collections are easy to set up to keep your media organized and secure. And extensive Social Media sharing integration – embedded directly from your libraries.
Here's their promo video that gives you a quick overview of MediaZilla and how it works:
What About the Crowdfunding Campaign? and Recurring Cost of Service?
I voiced my concern to Jon in a personal email about the projected monthly/annual costs of this service, based on what's shared in the “Rewards” segment of the Indiegogo campaign page. I was concerned that the average person might not find value in this service if the costs were too high – and that many professionals might find value in it – even if just for a good resource for backup storage and organized containment of finished image galleries and portfolios to present to clients, or to deliver proofs for review – so they can justify the costs through their business.
Jon assured me there would be a variety of services at various price points – including a basic “free” service. In his response back to me, he writes:
While we understand that cost is a factor, we developed MediaZilla to provide the best possible user experience. In addition, we have incorporated unique features such as online “Blu-ray style” menus that do not exist with other platforms such as Vimeo, YouTube, Dropbox, etc.
We will have several price points to meet our users' needs. MediaZilla accounts will range from a free account for users with less storage and bandwidth needs, as well as intermediate account levels and finally a top level account for users with very high storage and bandwidth needs. We anticipate the intermediate account levels will range from $5-10, $15-20, $25-35 and the top level account will be in the $40-50 range. The Blu-ray style menus will be a feature on all account levels, including the free account.
With multiple price points we are effectively removing cost of entry concerns for virtually all users, including general indie photographer/videographer/filmmaker. We appreciate your feedback and have updated the campaign page to remove any ambiguity about the cost of entry.
And they are indeed adding updates to their campaign page almost daily. It's definitely worthwhile to go check it out and see if jumping in on this early program is right for you. There's only a couple of weeks left to get in on their introductory campaign; I know that I'll definitely be keeping an eye on them and as soon as they have their service launched and running, I'll be testing it out and reporting back to my PVC readers with a full review & update.
Jeff Foster is a published author of several how-to books and training videos in the motion graphics, animation and video production industries and is an award-winning video producer and artist. Visit his web site to learn more about his training methods, tips & tricks at PixelPainter.com