October 23rd, 2014

What Cable Execs are Saying About HBO Going OTT?

by Iddo Shai
A bit more than a week has passed since HBO dropped a mini-boom, about HBOGO being offered to non-cable subscribers as of 2015. I write “mini” because HBO didn’t reveal anything about the service. So it’s hard to evaluate how it could change the current paid TV landscape.
Today was an opportunity to get the perspective of the cable operators. Joan Gillman is EVP & COO at Time Warner Cable Media, which was acquired by Comcast (pending the FCC approval). Gillman, who spoke at the Media Tech Summit in NYC, made a very calculated comment. She congratulated HBO for being “innovative” but also made the pitch why cable providers are still valuable to consumers.
Expect to hear much more of that value proposition in the coming months, as companies like Univision will launch OTT services. See here:

If you are interested in reading more about why HBO decided to go direct to consumer and why now, see my article published on BroadcastBeat a few days ago.
October 10th, 2014

Native DoubleClick Everywhere with Kaltura Player ToolKit

by Michael Dale
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DFP is an ad platform with SDKs for Flash, HTML5, iOS & Android

Kaltura has been a long time partner for Google’s DoubleClick interactive media ads platform. Kaltura has included full featured support of IMA3 within the Flash player and was one of the first partners to integrate IMA3 for HTML5. With the transition to lead with HTML5 partners have been able to take advantage of desktop HTML5 player experience with full ad integration.

But ultimately the IMA3 HTML5 ‘everywhere’ approach has limitations. Ad networks have been slow to fully adopt HTML5 VPAID, so flash based VPAID creatives are still very common on desktop platforms and only playing javascript VPAID can limit your ad fulfillment. In native environments certain device identifiers such as advertisingIdentifier and AdvertisingIdClient which are only available to native application contexts in iOS and Android respectively. Also certain ad inventory such as direct links to app store installs are generally only trafficked in the respective native application environment. These factors combine to hurt overall multi platform CPM value. With native implementation everywhere you can maximize CPM value.

The Kaltura unified universal player toolkit, is designed specifically to avoid these trade offs. The player maintains the benefits of consolidated configuration and HTMl5 / CSS visual representation with none of the sacrifices against delivery of native ad inventory. In this blog post we outline the architecture that makes this possible and share our work with google on this trail blazing effort to towards simplifying ad management across native, HTML5 and desktop. read more »

October 3rd, 2014

Educause Recap 2014 – Lecture Capture, Accessibility and More

by Justin Beck

Another Educause has come and gone, in bally and storm ridden Orlando this go around but the action was just as intense inside the oversized Orlando Convention Center.  What the education community may or may not know is ed tech players like Kaltura have a love / hate relationship with the conference.  Its a grueling, exhausting few days that are in parallel the most amazing 72 hrs of meeting the players and participants in the ever evolving ecosphere of educational technology.  300 sessions, 270 exhibitors, over 500 speakers leads to incredible interaction, comradery and face paced moment to take the pulse of technology’s advancement (or lack thereof) in impacting education.

The themes of this years conference were in line with past years –  analytics, social, mobile, adapting learning, personalized learning, standards advancement, retention, ROI, etc.  While many major trends evolve over time, this year appeared similar to the key buzz words we have dwelt upon the last year.  What stood out as unique compared to previous years was the international attendance.  There is an intense hunger from leading institutions worldwide to understand what tools and best practices are supporting online learning.  Of the 800 people that visited Kaltura’s booth over a 48hr time period –  roughly 20% came from international institutions.  Japan, Italy, Brazil, Russia, – while our translations were not always perfect – each engaged in a passionate demonstration and discussion of video’s potential impact on their students and faculty success.  In many of these countries the completion rates are worse than the US and their populations / economies are demanding a scalable infrastructure to support explosive online learning.  Kaltura is eager to be that enterprise layer that will bring video (live and on demand) video to life.

As I scanned sessions, listening to presenters and engaging with a hundred ed tech organizations the hyping of “the next big thing” was a bit subdued.  Typically there would be consistent grand proclamations of “the next biggest widget in edu” being proclaimed by publishers and tech companies alike; but Educause 2014 was slightly more restrained.  My hypothesis – the hype, sizzle and potential flatline of the MOOC buzz and rhetoric has exhausted the community.  What was pledged to completely disrupt our space, has of course made an impression in marketing action and inspired technical innovation, but more of the same exists as 24 months ago.  Campuses are still trying to drive more online positive experiences, improve learning outcomes, meet rising consumer expectations, balance fiscal concerns, curb student debt, just as before.  The old saying is “evolution not revolution” and our market continues to evolve in incremental ways to tweak all aspects of the learning process.

On our front, Kaltura shared major announcements just prior and leading up to the conference.  First we announced the expansion of our Video Creativity Suite including CaptureSpace which, based upon initial client feedback will provide some much needed simplification to the personal video capture experience.  This new product, by far, was generating the most buzz during the conference.  Confirming our recent report that 46% of the education community feels there still are not sufficient tools for faculty to leverage video in learning experiences, the promise of CaptureSpace to ease video capture, management and distribution – and unleash student and faculty creativity is great.  Secondly, we announced the formation of our Accessibility Advisory Board.  See the full press release here, but in essence some leading institutions are partnering with Kaltura to advance accessibility standards.  From searchability, metadata standards, and best practice advisory we are anxious to see where we can improve our already market leading players, applications and toolkits.

So we are exhausted physically after a sprint race of meetings and presentations at Educause – but mentally fired up about the opportunity ahead to advance student outcomes improvement with our partner institutions, districts and ed tech partners.  With over 150 institutions joining the Kaltura community in the last 12 months there is much to do to continue supporting our world class education partners in fulfilling their academic mission.

It is almost a given certainty we will return to overhyping the “next big thing” in education but in the meantime, we at Kaltura are building evolutionary and revolutionary toolkits to bring student and faculty engagement to the masses with the most complete, accessible and simple video toolkits in education.

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September 13th, 2014

Kaltura Wins Best TV Everywhere Award at IBC 2014

by Iddo Shai

Kaltura OTT at IBCWhat a night in Amsterdam!

Kaltura is excited to announce that it won the award for Best TV Everywhere/Multi-Screen Video at IBC 2014! The Kaltura OTT TV team was acknowledged for the  KabelKiosk white label IPTV offering (meinFernsehen), a sophisticated second screen deployment for Eutelsat – one of the leading satellite operators in the world. In this project, Kaltura OTT TV allows Eutelsat’s  300 affiliate companies to provide a second screen internet-based TV service to more than 3.5 million German households.

This award comes on the heels of the Tvinci acquisition in May 2014. Tvinci, a leading paid OTT TV company was acquired by Kaltura to create the most comprehensive end to end OTT TV solution. This is the second time that the Tvinci team has won the CSI awards at IBC and its a huge validation of our technology and the exceptional TV experience it offers to users. 

The KabelKiosk projects brings to life the three pillars of Kaltura OTT TV:

1. Time-Shifted TV – the ability to pause live shows and catch up on thousands of shows aired on  Eutelsat’s linear channels. 

main menu2. Engagement Tools – users can create their personal profiles, allowing them to get a personalized social feed that includes updates on what their friends are watching, liking, sharing and commenting on. This is done by utilizing Kaltura’s household management capabilities that allow service providers and telcos to manage multiple user profiles within a single household.

3. Metadata Driven Discovery -our strong EPG management capabilities make a huge difference for service providers and telcos because all the linear TV shows are automatically indexed, which creates a massive VOD library based on live channels catch up. In addition, Kaltura’s powerful recommendation engine always suggests the most relevant content so users can rent or buy additional videos.

If you want to check out the KabelKiosk application in action and hear about OTT3, the next generation of the platform – please visit us at the Kaltura booth in IBC (Hall 3, Stand C67). Other than very cool demos, we also serve delicious coffee.

See you on the floor!

September 3rd, 2014

More Strategies from the Blue Ocean

by Joe Fleischmann

This series of posts is geared to provide insight into our strategy, and will touch on one of the six basic approaches to remaking market boundaries.

Look Across Time – Video is Rapidly Becoming Mainstream, Everywhere

All industries are subject to trends that affect their businesses over time. Looking at these trends with the right perspective can lead to blue ocean opportunities. The biggest trend is the shift of the last 10 years has been collapse of the industrial media complex’ and the democratization of media creation and distribution. This has meant a shift in power to the owners of good content and away from the limited distribution paths of the past. And today anyone can be a content creator. The owners of newspapers, magazines, radio and television are no longer the gatekeepers of information and everyone, and every company, has the ability to connect directly with the audiences that matter to them.

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What is more, the means of communication is changing, the silos of text, sound and pictures are collapsing and we’re seeing the rise of transmedia with video being very much at the forefront and acting as a catalyst to engagement and further action. These technological advancements in the creation and distribution of content have shifted the job for communicating from the hands of few to the function of many. It is no longer possible to have a marketing department pay for TV, radio and print and call it a day. That system worked up to a point, the point of no longer being ignorant of the facts. As John Wanamaker is famous for saying:

“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half”

As companies struggle to become more like media companies they evolve from basic web publishing of text and images to the embrace of video. It is important to remember that YouTube is not yet ten years old and we are still struggling with a myriad of issues to make video play nicely across all devices, and that those are just the basics. We are entering a time when media customers are beyond experimentation, in fact there is now a keen awareness that their businesses are dependent on their ability to growth digitally and make money by connecting people directly to content, or to goods via the information in the content.

August 27th, 2014

Strategies from the Blue Ocean Strategy

by Joe Fleischmann

This series of posts is geared to provide insight into our strategy, and will touch on one of the six basic approaches to remaking market boundaries

 

Look Across Alternative Industries – Video has Limitless Potential

Video is the most powerful medium to tell a story, but technology has until recently relegated it to a handful of industries controlled by relatively few. Now that the means of video production are accessible to nearly anyone, in the short form of a million Vines to the Red Bull live coverage of Felix Baumgartner as he jumped from the stratosphere, we are no longer captives of technological limitation and video can be used across the internet of things to tell the most impactful stories by anyone with imagination and skill.

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But perhaps the most clear form of value innovation for video is as an alternative and more effective means of information and entertainment which digital technology now make possible. History supports this trajectory. Newspapers gave way to television as the primary source of information in the 1960s, and now a video empowered internet is trending to become bigger than television as a sources of news. And this says nothing of the growth in digital video entertainment.

So when we look across alternative industries we find a host of opportunities where video can do better what text and images have done till now. This is the fundamental reason why video has grown, and will continue to grow beyond the over 6 billion hours of video watched each month on YouTube to be 90% of the internet’s traffic, exploding bandwidth a hundredfold. Video is high bandwidth for a reason. It packs a huge amount of data, and our brains are uniquely wired to process it.

July 30th, 2014

O’Reilly OSCON 2014: FOSS Nerd Field Report

by Jess Portnoy

OSCON_LOGOThe O’Reilly Open Source Convention (OSCON) took place at last week at Portland, OR. Portland is a fun city, with great restaurants and bars, and surrounded by beautiful mountain scenery.

If you’re a FOSS nerd or even just getting started with Open Source, you’ll love OSCON. Kaltura has been a proud sponsor of OSCON for the 7th year.

Community Leadership Summit.
The weekend before OSCON, we’ve attended the Community Leadership Summit, or in short CLS. CLS is a 2-day UN-Conference. The goal is to share best practices and discuss the art and science of community building and nurturing.

If you haven’t been to an un-conference before, the idea is for the attendees to come up with the agenda the morning of the event. Making a collaborative, inclusive and creative gathering. Most impressing was how quickly attendees suggested sessions, creating a packed agenda within 20 minutes.

CLS was full of great sessions and I’d like to share a couple with you –

  • The first was lead by Russ Pavlicek from Xen: “Birthing a new community within an exising community”. Community managers shared their experiences expanding their communities to new groups. For example growing a developer community out of your user community. Or fostering discussion oriented communities out of a hard-core developer group. We even discussed growing adoption and participation within a religious community with local chapters.
  • Another notable session was: ‘How to keep your marketing team happy’. The discussions made me reflect on memories of conflict I had with marketing teams of previous companies I worked at. I said I am proud to be working at Kaltura where we foster an open collaboration between the Community and Marketing teams.

Check out the videos section and the forums at the CLS website to learn more and get in touch with other community leaders.

FLOSS Community Metrics Meeting.
Then we attended the first FLOSS Community Metrics Meeting. A meeting of community managers from known FOSS groups including Puppet Labs, Debian, Red Hat and others to discuss analytics and ROI of community and participation. Zohar Babin, Kaltura’s Sr. Director of Community & Ecosystem Partnerships presented the opening talk on communicating the value of participation and community work within commercial organizations, and how to avoid getting side-tracked with the data and instead, focusing on success stories and well defined project goals.

OSCON – O’Reilly Open Source Convention.
I knew OSCON was blessed by the FOSS goddess when the projector immediately connected to my laptop! See, I work with Linux exclusively, and frequently face the “battle of the projector” before presentations.

The OSCON workshop I lead was: “Debugging LAMP Apps on Linux/UNIX Using Open Source Tools“. I’ve completely broken a Linux installation, and then spent 3 hours live debugging and fixing the environment with the attendees – That was FUN! Nothing teaches you more than breaking things.

I got to exchange a lot of Production disaster recovery experiences with my fellow attendees and discuss solutions and means to avoid the fiascos in advance.
If you’d like, check out my slides:

Tweet at @jess_port01 or @kaltura and leave a comment below if you’d like to talk about the slides.

There were a lot of interesting sessions, technical and otherwise. I strongly suggest you review the session materials on http://www.oscon.com. O’reilly also recorded the sessions, so stay tuned for the VOD soon.

One special talk I’d like to highlight was by Chris Launey of Disney. Chris spoke about the challenges of DevOps where everything is always “needed yesterday”. He discussed how people often hear about “this new cool tool” and want to deploy it right away, without expressing a clear need for it. Or whether the current system can already provide the same capabilities.

Chris also gave an example of how people say “Lets install Ubuntu!” and when asked what will it enable that their current RedHat install doesn’t – there’s no concrete answer. See his session details for more.

Michael Dale, Kaltura’s Product Director of Playback and Core delivered a session titled “HTML5 Video Part Deux; New Opportunities and New Challenges”. Michael discussed the recent developments in the HTML5 standard. And explored new video experiences the new features will enable. Review his session details for more, browse the sessions slides online and tweet at @michael_dale or @kaltura for questions and followup.

As with any conference, the ‘water cooler’ conversations are equally interesting and informative. I met many fellow hard core techies. Had conversations on GCC optimizations, low level kernel changes and many other interesting topics. That was lots of fun, long live us CS nerds!

Interesting to observe was that the FOSS ecosystem had significantly grown from the “die-hard hobbyists club” to including the average user and more new business models. Nowadays, for-profit commercial projects and non-profit community driven projects co-exist in the FOSS ecosystem. And more so than ever, feed each other and promotes growth and success. Kaltura is such an example. An open source project used by many. Built and maintained by a commercial company. And in turn both the project and company benefit in more features, faster innovation, support and advocacy.

At the Kaltura booth in the exhibit hall, I came across many interesting developers and projects. Two that I think deserve an honourable mention were:

  • Aaron Wolf’s project Snowdrift.coop. A new fundraising platform in the spirit of Free, Libre and Open.
  • The other was Jim Cupples’s Ballot Path. Jim defines himself as a “social sciences nerd”. Ballot Path is allows Oregonians to learn about their elected representatives. And shows the steps one would need to take to run for office.

Both of these projects involve open source technologies, and licensed as such. Yet both are not technical projects. FOSS is not just for techies anymore. Everyone benefits from the values and practices open source presents.
I recommend reading ‘In the Beginning was the Command Line’ by Neal Stephenson. Where Stephenson discusses the contributions of the open source principles and culture to society.

To conclude, OSCON was an informative and fun conference. And I look forward to meeting you there next year!

July 28th, 2014

Four Reasons to Start Content Marketing

by Joe Fleischmann

Tried and Tested Advice from Four Content Marketing Leaders

“Content Marketing Matters.”  Michal Tsur, Kaltura’s President and CMO said this in her introduction to the Panel Discussion about Content Marketing at Kaltura Connect 2014.  A niche of marketing once overlooked by the masses, content marketing has gradually become a part of many organizations’ marketing mixes.  Still there are organizations everywhere struggling for reason to allocate budget, staff, and time into incorporating it into their own mix.  The reality is, content marketing is something every organization in this decade must start practicing if they want to stay relevant in their user’s eyes—and it’s easier to start than you might think.

1: Content Marketing Creates Brand Loyalty 

All too often, organizations undervalue and neglect to address their customers as what they really are—people.  Scott Salik, VP of Video at Visalus—a direct selling company, illustrates how he was able to connect with his customer base.

My goal is to drive an emotional response so that people will connect with the product.  So that they feel they will have success with weight loss, or so that they feel they will have success in business. 

With this in mind, Scott and his team created a campaign to challenge his customers in achieving their weight loss goals.  If their customers could lose the first ten pounds, they would be more likely to reach their end goal.  With that in mind, Visalus launched Project 10 where customers would submit two videos—an “I want it” and an “I lost it” video showing their results.  Then, every week Visalus would select 10 people who submitted both videos to win $10,000.

 After four months, they’ve received over 100,000 clips, and noticed a 670% increase in the long term value of a customer who submitted both clips.  As Scott says, “Often they become promoters for us and help sell our product because they are true advocates for the success of our product.”

With just a bit of research and a simple internal campaign Visalus was able to increase their overall value, engage their customers, and generate hundreds of hours of user generated content they can freely use however they want.

2: Content Marketing Creates Brand Awareness  

Typically an organization creates brand awareness through advertising.  While it works, potential consumers can sometimes get frustrated and it is almost always an expensive endeavor.  Cornell University has launched a website dedicated to telling its stories called CornellCast.  As Carrie Sanzone, Web Product Manager at Cornell says:

It’s about getting that word of mouth, getting people talking about Cornell.

Carrie illustrates this with an example about 3D printing during her presentation.  Cornell can invest little into producing a story in-house and by keeping it on a central location (CornellCast), media outlets can report on it and increase the videos reach greatly.

“We’re not trying to get people to come necessarily to CornellCast.  But, we want to be where you are.  We’re trying to find the intersection of what people’s questions and problems [are], and where that intersects with our talent and expertise.”  With this methodology, spending what they typically would on advertising, they can create great content that appears to their potential students when they want to see it allowing Cornell to naturally become a part of the conversation.

3: Content Marketing Can be Measured

A struggle organizations often have in beginning content marketing is their belief that it can be difficult to see a clear return on investment.  In reality, too many organizations are focused on the wrong metrics.  Raymond Attipa, CEO of Shandy Media, a Compulsive Digital Media Company, has his own ideas of what make for quality metrics—and it’s not the number of clicks or views a video has.  For Raymond, it’s about how engaged viewers are with his content.

We have videos which are extremely successful because they have an extremely high engagement rate, an extremely high share rate and that’s really what our advertisers are looking for.  

Depending on what your goal is, in the case of Shandy Media—advertisement revenue, if you set the right goals, you can find methods to track it.  Things like duration of video watching and which countries and devices viewers are coming from, can go a long way in deciding which content to produce and promote, and where.

Of course, it’s important to remember that you only ever want at most 2-3 things for the viewer to take away—the basic marketing principles still apply when you want a viewer to act on a call to action.

4: Content Marketing Should be Applied to a B2B Space

Typically, content marketing is only referenced when talking about companies selling directly to a consumer.  The reality is that through refocusing and offering something else, it’s possible to use content marketing to effectively reach businesses.  Linda Crowe, Director of Content Marketing Programs at Oracle faces this challenge head on.  What she’s discovered is that that nature of who Oracle is selling to is changing and it’s not just those in technical positions making purchases.

Audiences don’t want to hear Speeds & Feeds

Like the first point we addressed, you’re always marketing to people.  People are who make up the businesses and it’s crucial to realize that.  Linda says it best: “They don’t want to hear about the technical attributes of our product, initially.  What they want to hear is, what are the business solutions and how are Oracle customers really approaching solving a business problem.”  What Linda is doing is starting this engaged conversation where Oracle can demonstrate solution oriented content in a manner that makes sense to those in a buying position.

If one of these four reasons isn’t enough to at least get you questioning why your organization doesn’t actively apply content marketing into your mix please let us know in the comments!  We’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions.  Also, be sure to watch the full panel discussion online—it’s full of amazing insights into the world of content marketing.   

July 23rd, 2014

What’s Next for HTML5 Video? Join our Talk at OSCON 2014

by Zohar Babin

Sharing the excitement from floor of OSCON 2014, Kaltura’s Director of Playback Experience and Video Monetization, Michael Dale talks about Kaltura, open source and his OSCON talk about what’s happening with web video standards and html5.
Be sure to visit Michael’s OSCON 2014 talk – HTML5 Video Part Deux; New Opportunities and New Challenges and come by our booth (#P1).

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June 27th, 2014

Test Driven Learning Begets Test Driven Development

by Michael 'Flip' McFadden

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Like most developers, I was approached by my management to “Make Something Work” without having any prior experience.  The job was to connect our Plone/Zope content management system to Kaltura, so web content editors could seamlessly upload and edit video content and metadata that is managed by the KMC.  It wasn’t hard to find the Kaltura Python API Client Library, but once you have the Client Library, you have to learn how to use it – and at the same time, learn the features that the KMC provides (see:
Kaltura Management Console Training Track).

I can read through the many docs from cover to cover (I usually don’t) and still have the uncomfortable, lost feeling of having no clue what’s going on. And then there’s always the pressure of overcoming the learning curve in a reasonable amount of time.
So I begin by writing “Playground Code”. A directory that will be filled with useless, proof-of-concept code that helps me get the hang of a language, an API, or a new concept. This code will never be used in production, which gives me the permission to write really bad code while I climb up the learning curve.
Being able to become unattached to code, throw it all away and start over, was an important step for me. You learn the ‘right way’ to do things by doing them the ‘wrong way’ first. It also helped me figure out where exactly I should be reading in the docs to get done what needs to be done.

In the past few years, I’ve been working a lot with the concept of Test-Driven-Development. In TDD you write very small, encapsulated tests before you actually code the functionality or patch you are implementing. You are, in fact, intentionally writing failing test cases. I found this method very useful for isolating and fixing bugs, but not so much for new large projects or new enhancement development. The requirement that the tests should be atomic and very specific does not lend itself to complicated projects with many moving parts. Until now.

When I found myself having to learn the Kaltura Python Client Library – having no prior experience, I found the concept of “Playground Code” and Test Driven Development coming together. I simply took my proof of concept, put together some code and threw an assert() statement at the end, and viola – it’s now a test case!

“How do I connect to a Kaltura Server with the Python API”

The answer was “testConnect()” – that was easily incorporated into a test suite using python’s excellent testing framework ‘unittest‘ (Then, assert that something like client.media.list() returns something that looks like a response. Or, at the very least, not an exception).
Viola: test_media.py

I developed the trivial, but important test case at the same time I learned how to connect to the Kaltura server! My code doesn’t have to be thrown away, nor does it have to be perfect. However, it can now serve the purpose of being a proof of concept, a unittest, and a code example for the next developer all at the same time.

When I got confused with something, I could easily take my entire test case, which was an atomic, very specific exercise/problem, and post it to the forums as is – and quickly get a direct answer on what was confusing me – instead of submitting a link to my entire application with the “xxxx not working” title, which would have made it harder for others to review and help.

And then it got even better. The proof of concept code grew as I learned more about the API. A large tests module started forming. I started coming finding small bugs in the Kaltura Python Client Library, nothing critical, but important to my application – And I was able to patch, test and contribute my code upstream to the Kaltura project.

Through my humble experience (from complete newbie state) with Kaltura’s API and Python Client Library, I was able to submit and contribute a more polished and complete Python Test suite for the Kaltura API Client Library!

@flipmcf

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