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Online Vet Puts Pets on Display with Live Video Program

U.K. veterinarian Joe Inglis always thought that a vet's office provided interesting material. Recently, he put that idea to the test.

After Inglis launched his own pet food company, called Vet's Kitchen, he hit on a novel method of marketing his practice. He put a glass wall on one exam room and turned his office into a video production studio. Thanks to one new staff member who wears many hats (camera operator, director, producer, editor, and more) Inglis records interesting events from his office to share with online viewers. Once a week, he and a pet behaviorist host a live one-hour advice show. Selected patients and their owners drop by for the show, appearing on-camera while Inglis discusses their cases.

The program is called "Vet's Klinic," and it shows that today, every company can be a media company. Despite appearances, Inglis didn't invest much in his studio, and he's only added one staff member to run it. He's learned much during the months that his Wednesday live show has been in production and has upgraded some equipment, yet he's still managed to keep costs down.

The synergy between the pet food and the online show is natural, since people who buy pet food typically love real-life pet stories.

"The challenge is to get that out to people in a watchable kind of way," said Inglis.

Speaking at the Streaming Media Europe 2012 conference in London, Inglis explained how he created his show, as well as an entirely online support system. All patient booking is done through a browser using a custom web app, and registered patients can log on to see their pet's records. If a pet has to stay overnight, Inglis's staff posts pictures and videos for that owner to see. The entire system was built in three months. Pet videos can be used for the weekly show, if the case is novel.

After comparing the options, Inglis chose Telestream Wirecast software to produce his shows, since it offers easy setup, can be run by only a few people, and allows his producer to create video clips with little effort. Inglis works with Groovy Gecko for distribution, streaming to both desktop and mobile viewers.

All shows get saved and loaded into a video-on-demand library, which currently has around 35 clips. Shows are also broken into smaller segments and uploaded to a YouTube channel. Live shows get a few hundred viewers, but recorded shows grow to 800 to 900 views. Inglis expects viewing numbers to grow dramatically when his Facebook video app is finished next month.

For companies that want to get into video but aren't sure where to start, the message is clear: blaze your own trail. Rather than looking at what types of video have succeeded for other companies, look at what you have available and think how you can create video from it. If what you create is interesting and well made, an audience will find you.

Troy Dreier's article first appeared on OnlineVideo.net

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