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A lot of people will get to see DevDays up and close, but a lot more won't. Will there be a free video download of all the sessions? If the goal is to make it as accessible as possible, this would really hit the spot (not to mention be wildly popular).

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If it is going to be available for download, I wouldn't announce that until after the event. Otherwise a lot of people might decide to stay home. –  Bill the Lizard May 9 '11 at 14:05
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@Bill the Lizard - I don't think there would be a shortage of people who would like to experience the whole thing in person. –  Vilx- May 9 '11 at 16:20
    
@Vilx: You might be right. People still go to the movies when they know the DVD will be out in a few months. It also seems to be working okay for TED. –  Bill the Lizard May 9 '11 at 16:36
    
@Bill the Lizard - a lot of conferences are available as videos. For instance, Joel's favorite Business of Software. Doesn't seem to hurt them. Being there and watching the video later on are two completely different things. I'm also sure that many of the attendees will still download the videos for future reference. –  Vilx- May 9 '11 at 17:00
    
@Bill - the videos will help spur interest in the live conference. It wasn't until I saw some of the videos that I started to lobby work to send me to BoS. Plus, if the goal is to make the internet better, why trap that knowledge in the confines of that one place at that one time? There is no substitute for being there, so I'm not sure any but the cheapest would make a "buy" decision based on if the videos were available. –  AnonJr May 12 '11 at 18:18
    
@AnonJr: It's not really a matter of money, but it might come down to time (at least for me). If a project deadline is coming near, I'm going to have a much more difficult time convincing my boss that I need time off to attend a conference. If I know that the videos will be online soon after, I might not try so hard. –  Bill the Lizard May 12 '11 at 18:38
    
@Bill - I can see that, and I could counter with the fact that the videos can make the conference easier to sell by having something you can show your boss re: the quality of the conference. I've spent a lot of good money on bad presentations... most managers can appreciate a little prudence from their staff. –  AnonJr May 12 '11 at 18:45
    
@Bill - Truth is, we can probably hash this out with valid examples from both sides of discussion, the root question that really needs to be answered is if publishing some or all videos would provide a net benifit. I think it would, but ultimately its up to Jeff/Joel. –  AnonJr May 12 '11 at 18:46
    
You won't miss a thing, it has been cancelled. –  Roalt Sep 7 '11 at 6:31

1 Answer 1

up vote 7 down vote accepted

I think that providing free downloads of the talks creates an unfair free-rider problem in which the attendees end up paying more money to subsidize the people that couldn't be bothered to pay and attend. And for everyone who decides not to go because the videos will be online later for free, the number of attendees is reduced and the very high fixed costs of the conference have be borne by a smaller number of people.

The Business of Software and TED are very different kinds of events, where a great deal of the value comes from the relationships that are formed among attendees in the hallways and at meals. That is true at this event too, of course, but not nearly to the same extent.

I expect that this year we will attempt to record some of the sessions and make them available to the general public, but not all of them.

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What about charging a minor fee to download the videos? Just cross sell the videos. –  Henrik P. Hessel May 10 '11 at 14:55
    
@Hendrik: why would you pay for technical talks if almost everything is already available at channel9.com for free? –  fretje May 10 '11 at 15:32
    
What about charging a significant fee for the videos? If the videos contain nearly the same value as being there in person, then that should be reflected in the price. This should more than offset the cost of the recording. Maybe release a few clips for free, and charge for the full thing. –  Jon Seigel May 10 '11 at 16:58
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For many people the cost will be prohibitive not because of the raw cost of attendance, but because of the [possibly several times] larger cost of travel and accomodation. I feel that if you don't provide these videos, that puts them at an unfair position. However I do see the reason of offering them for money. Though it would then have to be substantially less than actually attending, because you miss out on the opportunity to talk to the speakers and other attendees. Well, just my 2 cents. :) –  Vilx- May 10 '11 at 18:09

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