Just imagine, for a second, that Netflix stopped streaming mainstream (and less so) movies and television series for you to become hopelessly engrossed in, and instead replaced all of its content with TED-style talks and presentations about ways in which life could be changed, improved or put through some form of paradigm-shift. If – like me, I have to admit – you are at least as curiously excited as you are horrified at the prospect of losing the chance to watch Quantum Leap in its entirety from the very beginning, then there’s a new video service that you might want to check out: FORA.tv.
Based in San Francisco, FORA.tv offers users the chance to view thousands of hours of archived footage shot at various conferences, events and university lectures dedicated to the expression of game-changing ideas, with different events being available at different price-points (including free) and footage on such topics as business, politics, culture, science and technology (Examples of variances in pricing include the 2012 New Yorker Festival for $9.95 per session or $99.95 for the whole thing, whereas the 2012 Washington Ideas Forum is $2.95 per session or $44.95 for the entire event. Other videos are entirely free, and embeddable, as the site’s own Conference Blog ably demonstrates). The company describes the site as “the Web’s largest collection of conference and event videos” – It’s tempting to quibble, depending on whether poor quality pushes YouTube out of the running, but even if it doesn’t FORA’s cataloging by subject and searchability makes it an invaluable resource for this kind of thing.
According to the site’s “About” page, the company “believe[s] that there are brilliant ideas expressed everyday, everywhere, and we don’t want you to miss them,” which is why FORA has “gathered the web’s largest collection of unmediated video drawn from top conferences, universities, and public forums. We present this provocative, big-idea content for you to watch, interact with, and share –when, where, and how you want.”
Whether or not a regular subscription model is enough to make more people discover FORA.tv is open to question, but I certainly hope it is; it’s a great service, and one that deserves to find a wider audience.