Saturday, December 19, 2015

Streaming, Renting and Downloading Question

In the blog comments yesterday, Tom asked a question that I thought we could bring up with the group mind: 

Tom Hart said...

Sorry to sidetrack the discussion. I just bought Fantasy in the Wild (download). Can anyone help me understand the advantage of watching it as a download versus streaming it from the Gumroad site "on demand", once purchased? I can't see an advantage in downloading (taking up the 1G) except for the issue of data usage if you're not connected to wifi. (Maybe I just answered my own question.) Will it be available to stream from Gumroad "indefinitely".

In any case, I'm really looking forward to watching it this weekend.

James Gurney said...

Tom, you're not sidetracking at all. I'd be interested in people's answers, too. I may have only set it up for downloading, I'm not sure. EDIT: When you buy the digital from Gumroad, you get the option to download and own the file for any device, even if you're offline, and you also get the option to stream the content later in case you don't want to take up hard drive space. 
To be honest, I'm not sure if streaming and renting are the same thing.* What form is best for everyone? Should I offer a rental, too, and if so, for what price? 
---- Gumroad: Fantasy in the Wild: Painting Concept Art on Location
*EDIT: Regarding rentals, I haven't configured that option yet. I looked on the Gumroad site, and here's the explanation of how creators can configure rentals: "When they (customers) buy a rental from you, customers will have 30 days to stream (not download) the video files. Once they click "play" on a video file, their access to this file will expire in 72 hours."


Katharine said...

Hi James! Here's the difference between streaming and downloading.
When you're Streaming a video, the video file remains on the provider's server, in their posession. You never gain possession of a file. What you're paying for is the rights to access it.

When you download a video, you download the file to your computer. That file is yours to burn to disc, to copy to all of your devices, etc.

There are advantages and disadvantages to each. With downloading, the customer has more flexibility and can, potentially, keep that file for years, if they are diligent about their data storage. If Gumroad ever goes out of business, you'll no longer have access to that video. If the customer is not in a place with an internet connection, they can't watch the video.

However, pricing on streamed content is often cheaper. Maybe the customer feels that he/she only needs to watch the video a few times. You don't have a big file to manage and store.

Personally, I'm a download person, but I'm also a bit antiquated.

Kyle said...

Katharine is right! as for me, I'm a download guy too. I like to have a copy "just in case". Relying on others to keep it available for the long run worries me. I also like to have my own library all in one place on my hard drives.

The only downside I can see to this is data storage. If you are taking lessons where they have a lot of videos to download it can be a hassle to organize everything. I haven't found a good way to organize all my videos outside of just having a folder on my computer. Sites that hold your videos to stream have a nice way of organizing them usually, which makes it nice.

In the end I personally am willing to just download things and deal with the organization, just so I can have control, like Katharine talked about.

ccmint said...

Here's what I think about:
Login and I can view from any compatible device. Like Netflix.

Is my internet connection fast?
What happens if the website goes down?
I need to login to access the content.
I don't own the content.

I have it forever.
I own the content.
I can back it up.
I can burn to DVD.
I can scrub through video without lag.

I need to have at least 1GB storage.
It's single device unless it's put on a thumb drive to move it to another device.

And about price, if you go to Amazon look at the movies. They offer rent and buy options. I was recently given a promotion; the movie was $8 to buy and $4 to rent. That was for an older movie. So you can check out similar content to yours to get an idea on what to charge.

Mitch said...

My house is not entirely permeated by wi-fi (a good thing) and I appreciate the opportunity to watch files offline.

Offering a download option also suggests (at least to me) a certain open-minded generosity about offering a real product.

Personally, I wouldn't be interested in a rental option because I like the ability to refer back to it later as a reference tool.

By the way, I finished my first viewing of Fantasy In The Wild. It's great! I really liked the completely unpretentious look into your creative process, along with some valuable suggested principles to try myself. And as usual, very creative, authentic, and high quality video production and editing too!

Anonymous said...

I noticed that no one addressed the rent option. Renting, like streaming, leaves the video file on the seller's server. Unlike streaming, renting is usually for a set time period or number of views. You might be able to watch the video for 72 hours or watch it three times, whatever the rules are on that server. Rental viewing is done by streaming.

Some websites, like a couple of the online art academies, will sell a yearly membership and that allows you to access various streaming videos for that year. As long as you pay your membership you can access the videos.

Like some of the others who have commented, I am more of a download kind of person, burning purchases to DVD and having it forever.

Unknown said...

I prefer downloading too. IMHO renting is similar to go to the theatre to watch a movie. I always end up buying the blu ray.

Colin Boyer said...

I greatly prefer streaming if it's up on a stable platform and will stay there indefinitely. My harddrive recently ran out of space and I noticed that your videos were the largest files on my computer, so I unfortunately had to delete them. I hope I can still go back to stream them, and that Gumroad will keep them available for years.

Thanks for the awesome video! I've learned a lot through them!

Glenn Tait said...

Definitely download. I keep one on my computer and I stream it on my iPad.

Draw Paint Learn Grow said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David King said...

I definitely prefer downloads.

Draw Paint Learn Grow said...

I prefer to download too. Apart from the fact that I like to own a copy of the file, I also want to be able to watch it off-line. I use a dongle to access the Internet and streaming data via a dongle is very expensive (over time I'm sure to watch the video multiple times. I only have to download it once and use the free wifi in the library or some other public source for that).

As Colin noted, the files do seem to be very large compared to some other video files I have (perhaps because they are HD? I downloaded the smallest version and even that is still nearly 1Gb).

I have all four of your videos and think they are excellent; very informative, inspiring and good value too. Thank you for the honest insight into your working process, it's very much appreciated.

Draw Paint Learn Grow said...

Actually, I just noticed that the video is available to watch online through my Gumroad library even after I have downloaded a copy, so both options with their respective advantages are available. Given the very reasonable price of the video I doubt very much that I would forgo the download even if a lower cost streaming only option were available, though I suppose the choice be offered for anyone who would prefer it.

Kevin said...

Gumroad video streams are available indefinitely, but "indefinitely" and "forever" weren't the same thing.If Gumroad shut down, you'd probably lose access to the video.

Lou said...

Cast my lot in with the owner crowd. I always want a 'hard copy' that I keep. I've seen a lot of technology come and go. Experience has taught me that if I had a vinyl record, cassette, CD, DVD I've been able to transfer it from old tech to new tech and extend its life if I decide the effort is worth it (I'm leary of this relatively new downloaded video file format but have used it). I can't decide to transfer old tech to newer tech if someone else holds the product. It;s their choice and I don't like that. Eventually they will decide that something I bought 10 years ago and still, in theory, hold the right to view, isn't viable and discard it without me knowing. Or decides that 10 years is its life expectancy and if I want to view it again I'll have to pay to upgrade.

I've rented lots of movies and bought some that I intended to watch several times. But I can't see the point in renting an instructional video. I intend to watch Gouache in the Wild many times for many years. It's not economical to rent as many times as I will watch it. And I won't accept the risk of entrusting someone else to always make available for rent something I watched years ago and now wanted to see again.

Michael Dooney said...

I think that a one time "rental' option is a good idea for digital content, this would reach still another demographic. Just like with books, I get lots of them from the library that I just want to read and not own but I buy the books that I want to go back to time and again.

Rich said...

Got it;-) in our German hemisphere we have got a word for
= herunterladen....

"Streaming"; no direct translation available yet in our vocabulary, as far as I know.

"Rent" (Miete), of course does exist, breaking down the term "streaming" = "mieten" ...

Unknown said...

I like to download. I know I can watch it whenever I want! You never know when the giant robot will wreak havoc with Comcast Cable.

Paddy's Block said...

Your videos do very much entertain, but mostly, as for me, I watch them for reference, inspiration. Like art instruction books, you go back to them several times if you feel the need. So, the obvious choice is permanently owning the media. It is of personal preference downloading or streaming it. Best option here, and I hear GR provides it, is to offer both for the sake of backing up your purchase and offline watching. As for any other purchase option like renting... Sure, why not offering the the widest range of ways to view your content? Any other streaming service works on a rental base and customers are familiar with the idea. Slap on it an appropriate price like the suggested 4 dollars and you may reach the people out there, for whom the step from your free content to your full length 15 bucks videos is yet too steep. Good example... The Poster Maker documentation, you recommended a while ago. I would love to watch it, but don't need to own it. So I never bought it.

Carlos said...

Hi James. Just finished watching Fantasy in the wild and it is great, just as your previous videos which I've also bought. Personally I wouldn't mind a streaming option as long as the download option is still available. I like having them in my hard drive and re-watching them from time to time, just as you would do with an instructional book. You can always pick up something new. The only concern for you, when offering downloadable content, might be piracy. Other sites, like stanwinstonschooldotcom, offer both to own and rent videos but always use streaming, thus protecting their content. I guess that's a good option as well since you can re-watch the content at any time and the creator remains protected against piracy as well. By the way, do you have any future plans for more 'In the wild' series? They are awesome.

larry said...

Paying for something and not having your own, downloaded copy, requires complete certainty that it will forever be available. If you're only going to watch a video once, then downloading it makes no sense. I watch these videos multiple times. I shared Fantasy with my wife.

So, will the copy be available for streaming forever? James is a great guy. He wouldn't turn off access, would he? But what if he's run over by a truck (grin). What if he listens to a Jimmy Buffet record, buys a sailboat and runs off to Margaritaville?

And then there's just the glitches that happen, for reasons unknown. Here's one. I've bought Watercolor in the Wild, Gouache in the Wild, Fantasy in the Wild and a smaller extensions video whos name escapes me. I've downloaded all of them. Now, when I log on, the only two that are listed for me to watch are the Gouache and Fantasy videos. Do I care? No, because I have copies tucked away on my hard drive.

Cheers --- Larry

Gregory Lee said...

Downloads are less subject to size limitations. Many of us have very limited internet transfer speeds, so to be streamed, a file may have to be reduced in size to a degree that compromises the quality of the video. For instance, my own internet connection at home is for 16 megabits per second, which prevents me from streaming any 4k or high dynamic range videos from Amazon or Youtube. I can stream the videos, okay, but the sender senses how good my internet connection is and sends me a lower quality version. Many people who do not live in major urban centers are currently even more constrained than I am, for download speed. Many who do live in urban centers have much higher download speeds than mine, so that streaming is never a problem for them.

grobles63 said...

I have enjoyed all your videos. They have been very helpful and inspiring, but if its not to much trouble it would be nice to be able to purchase a print of the final image. Offering it a long or in addition to the videos would add to the learning experience. Just a suggestion, I will continue to purchase and enjoy your videos.

Virginia Rinkel said...

You know I have a terrible time with the video stuff. I wrote once all my problems, and you ended up sending me a hard copy disc that I play over and over. That works best for me. I love all your videos, I just usually have to go to the library to see them, unless I buy a hard disc copy if it's available. Please always make hard copies available, for people like me. Thanks.

Tryggvi Edwald said...

I prefer to "have and to hold" videos I've paid for. Over the years, I have had my share of trouble with forgotten or changed passwords, servers and companies going under, etc., so I don't trust in repeated streaming. Storage is cheap.
Also, my network connections aren't always stable, especially out of Europe to the US, and I
often end up with an aborted download, half-way through a large file.
As for the business model, if a file can be streamed, it can also be captured and saved, although one probably needs to be a bit of a computer nerd to manage that. (I'm a nerd.)

Tom Hart said...

I appreciate that many have weighed in and have subatantiated what I had guessed was the major difference between the two Gumroad options: (1)Downloading, provided your data storage and back-up systems are good, makes the video "yours", almost as much as if you owned the hardcopy/dvd. It does take up a significant amount of data storage space, however. (2) Streaming (what Gumroad calls "Watch Now")is, for some of us, convenient; it's watchable on several devices, provided you have a good internet connection at the time, and it does not occupy any storage space on your hard-drive. "Watch Now" seems to be available from Gumroad indefinitely, but as has been said, no one can guarantee that that means "forever". As for a rental option, as someone said earlier, James's well produced trailers give you a very good idea of what you'd be getting. Add to that, that the Gumroad prices are very reasonable, and I personally don't see much room for a rental option for most of us who are interested. But maybe a low-price limited-time rental ($4-$5) would provide a good introduction to the "In the Wild" videos for a newer audience.

James Gurney said...

Thanks to all of you for these really thoughtful answers. It gives me a better of idea for how you watch and use the videos, and I'm glad Gumroad offers these options.

Carlos, I don't worry too much about piracy. As long as a new offering is priced reasonably and available in a variety of formats, I trust that people will be willing to pay for it, even if they know they can get a copy free somewhere else. Those who always pirate content can figure out how to pirate any format. But most people, I think, recognize that the payment is a small investment in their own success, and the only way the content creator can keep making more stuff.

Grobles63, I like the idea of offering prints. I've been looking into the best way to do that, such as Redbubble or Society6.