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Choose Wisely: Selecting An Online Video Platform

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If you intend to sell your content, you need a system that supports multiple business models. Gayle Christopher, director of interactive media at Oakstone Publishing, who used OVP comparison site VidCompare (www.vidcompare.com) to help with her OVP selection, needed a system that could support the diverse range of products that her company markets, from continuing medical education certification to health promotion programs. She also needed to distribute video to the websites that help market these products. "Our first priority is a system that can fit all of our revenue models, from pay per view to subscription and other ecommerce," Christopher says. "Any OVP that can’t is a nonstarter."

Aside from potential monetization models, you should also make sure your OVP supports other anticipated production workflows, such as user-generated content. For example, Brightcove customer Sun Microsystems, in anticipation of its developers conference—JavaOne—fashioned a contest in which developers could produce and upload a 30-second video explaining why they wanted to attend JavaOne. The producers of the five videos that were the most "original, creative, and humorous" received a free pass to the conference, plus $1,500 travel money.

According to Linda Crowe, Sun’s group manager for multimedia communications, development time for this "Dude, Where’s My Pass" program was only 48 hours from concept to implementation, which she attributed to the flexibility of the Brightcove system, which obviously can be programmed for UGC videos. Sun displayed the videos in Channel Sun, the central location for most Sun-related streaming videos, and on the JavaOne conference site. Again, this was easily accomplished with simple tagging in the Brightcove back end.

 Sun Microsystems
Sun Microsystems Sun Microsystems chose Brightcove, in part because it supported UCGcontent and enabled fast-turnaround projects.

Regarding the utility of the Brightcove system, Crowe commented, "The program generated several hundred videos submitted and tens of thousands of page views, so the ROI was huge. The features and flexibility of the Brightcove system really made it happen because we didn’t conceive of the program until about a month before the conference—if we couldn’t implement it in 2 days, it probably wouldn’t have happened."

Distribution, Distribution, Distribution
Once the video is in the system, the focus turns to distribution. And the more options the OVP enables, the better. For many producers, social media sites are key. I spoke with Ken Kaplan, Intel’s new media and broadcast manager, about Intel’s use of YouTube. He detailed Intel’s history of video distribution: It first used The NewsMarket to distribute B-roll footage to broadcast media and then used FeedRoom to create videos for embedding in Intel’s webpages and blogs and to send to iTunes. Over the past few years, however, Intel’s focus has changed from marketing through the news media to marketing directly to consumers.

"Intel sells to a relatively small group of computer manufacturers. But our end users are a diverse group, and many are very interested in the technology behind our CPUs. Video is a powerful way to reach them on their own terms—no briefings or phone calls—and to create a preference for Intel and specifics as to why. Videos on YouTube are a great way to maintain awareness from announcement to announcement, and bloggers seem to prefer embedding YouTube videos over those available on our site."

I checked Intel’s channel on YouTube and found the numbers impressive—1,241 uploaded videos that have been viewed more than 5.6 million times, with 7,282 subscribers. Videos uploaded to tout then-unreleased products such as the "Making the All New Intel Core 2010" (17,832 views) and "Making First 32nm Microprocessor" (40,819 views) obviously helped create the premarket buzz for the new CPU’s January 2010 launch.

Repurposed 30-second TV advertisements such as the "Intel Star" (1,200,918 views) and "Our Jokes Aren’t Like Your Jokes" (330,528 views) further spread the word, all for the cost of a 10-minute upload. As Kaplan concluded, "You can’t publish your videos on a single platform; you have to make them available where potential end users want to watch them."

You don’t have to be a multibillion dollar chip producer to benefit from exposure on YouTube. Frank Galli, owner of Sniper’s Hide (www.snipershide.com), who sells target shooting-related products and training, deploys video on his own site, on YouTube, and on other sites via Tube Mogul, which he can access as an output option on his Veeple content management system. Through Veeple’s agreement with TubeMogul, Galli can access more than 20 UGC sites such as YouTube, Vimeo, and Metacafe, all from a single upload. He can access consolidated playback analytics from all the deployed sites from his Veeple account as well.

VH1 VH1 distributed the Hip Hop Honors show to the iPhone (and BlackBerry)via Kyte’s mobile applications framework.

Sun Microsystems is another believer in YouTube videos and consolidated analytics. According to Crowe, one of the most important aspects of the Brightcove system is that it lets the company feed playback statistics into its Omniture analytics system, which can consolidate results from Sun’s internal channels as well as from YouTube.

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