Blog reader Vickesh, after reading my last post about the choice between different video communities on the web, pointed me in the direction of a recent article in the New York Times about the difficulties of providing web services to developing countries and still making a profit.
Of particular interest? The decision by Veoh to stop offering video to users in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe because of high bandwidth costs:
"I believe in free, open communications, but these people are so hungry for this content. They sit and they watch and watch and watch. The problem is they are eating up bandwidth, and it’s very difficult to derive revenue from it." -Veoh Chief Executive Dmitry Shapiro
Read the full article for a lot more examples from other services — Joost, Facebook, Youtube, etc — that weigh in on both sides of this discussion.
As someone that thinks about online strategy here at a global organization like the World Bank, this discussion is particularly important to me. One question that I keep asking myself: how we can provide content and engage in conversation that is happening across the web while also being accessible to a diverse international audience?
The fact that our global economic reality can make it hard for content communities like Veoh to deliver accessible content in certain parts of the world wasn't always a consideration in my answers to that question, but now I guess it should be.