Archive for ‘Media’

November 8th, 2013

You Can Have Your Own Netflix – it’s Called MediaGo™

by Iddo Shai

kaltura_mediagoIf you have ever been to the Kaltura office in New York, you know that from our conference room window we see Union Square and the place where the Virgin Megastore once stood. Today, what used to be a massive music store with dozens of listening stations (and a special section for Japanese imports!) is now a very big bank.

Virgin Megastores was joined yesterday by Blockbuster, which announced it would shut down all of its remaining video rental stores. The company, now owned by Dish, will continue operating its online video streaming service.

In 1999, Blockbuster was valued at $4.8 billion and around that time Virgin had about 23 music stores and revenue of $280 million annually. No doubt, much has changed.

Coincidently, yesterday we at Kaltura announced our latest product – Kaltura MediaGo™. “An out of the box Netflix” that offers a turn-key solution to have your own content store up and running very quickly.

MediaGo is another stage in the natural evolution of television, film, music, education and enterprise culture. Driven by powerful cloud services, low storage costs and proliferation of connected devices – many media companies, telecom service providers, content rights holders and independent producers can now monetize their content easily and cost-effectively. This is usually referred to as over-the-top delivery (OTT), but what it really means is that technology is now leveling the playing field not only for disruptors like Netflix and iTunes but for any business entity that owns quality content.

Beyond OTT, MediaGo also captures the strongest trends in the online video platform space. Since 2006 Kaltura has been a pioneer in online video with its open and flexible approach that allowed news and entertainment companies to utilize our strong API offering to create their own customized video experience. However, in recent months, as we have been tracking the news and entertainment markets, we noticed a strong need for an out-of-the-box content store that is easy to manage by the content providers and very intuitive for the consumers to use.

Kaltura PlayerMediaGo is designed to do just that. Basically, all that the content providers need to do is to add content (and set their price). For the user, subscription is easy and navigating the site feels intuitive and familiar. From a technology perspective, what’s still powering all of this under the hood is the same strong Kaltura API set. These include our industry leading video player, HD adaptive streaming, fast upload, DRM support, geo-blocking, custom metadata, content recommendation, analytics, easy site customization and of course the entire e-billing and user management aspects.

We believe that the business opportunity here is huge and we will keep writing about it in the coming weeks and months. But before I conclude, let me go back to my favorite place in New York circa 2003.

Gremlins in santaAs much as I loved spending endless hours in the Virgin Megastore at Union Square I know today that it wasn’t perfect. Why? Well, because it was a mega store. Sure, it had all the content I loved but it also offered massive amount of stuff I didn’t care for (sorry Gremlins dolls in Santa Suits). And much of this mega store experience still exists. YouTube is a mega store, iTunes is a mega store and Amazon is… probably the ultimate example. These stores are not going away, but that doesn’t mean your viewers are not looking for a new, more focused, personal and entertaining video experience.

Read more:

- Kaltura Introduces MediaGo, Its ‘Netflix-In-A-Box’ Portal For Media Companies (Techcrunch)

- Kaltura Now Offers Easy OTT Subscription Based Video Platform (ReelSEO)

October 28th, 2013

The Beatles Recorded BBC Sessions – Listen Now With Kaltura

by Charlotte.Copeman

The Beatles

Exclusive to THEBEATLES.COM, here is the first ever stream of She Loves You from Live at the BBC Vol 2 streamed through the Kaltura player! The much coveted and previously unreleased recordings and studio chatter by the Beatles will be released on November 11th and you can get a preview and hear some of your favourite Beatles tracks through the Kaltura player on The Beatles website

This version was taped for the fifth anniversary of Saturday Club on the 7 September 1963 at the BBC Playhouse Theatre, London. The Beatles’ biggest selling single in Britain spent twelve weeks in the Top Three, including two stints at number one.

These recordings are being made public for the first time ever, and include some of the bands’ early hits plus coverage of songs recorded at the BBC in 1963 and 1964. There will be much loved favourites including ‘Lucille’ and ‘The Hippy Hippy Shake’.

In addition to the tracks, the album will have exclusive audio of the group talking to the BBC’s radio presenters.

The new album, ‘On Air – Live At The BBC Volume 2′, follows the hugely successful ‘Live at the BBC’ album issued in 1994, which sold more than five million copies around the world in six weeks.

The Beatles performed a huge catalogue of songs across 275 performances at the BBC between March 1962 and June 1965.

They appeared on 39 radio shows in 1963 and, on one single day, recorded 18 songs for three editions of their Pop Go The Beatles series in a session lasting less than seven hours.

In total they played 88 different songs, most done in one take with little time to correct mistakes!

Visit the site to hear your favourite classics now!

September 16th, 2013

Video Stream Live Events and Radio Shows with Kaltura and Orad (Demo)

by Iddo Shai

IBC 2013 logoIt’s been an exciting weekend here at IBC 2013 in Amsterdam. The Kaltura booth (Hall 3, B20) has been very busy as additional television broadcasters turn to online video technology to expand their distribution and revenue. At the same time, we are seeing strong interest from new content providers as radio stations, event producers and universities to be able to offer a great live video experience.

Kaltura and Orad are presenting at IBC 2013 an integrated offering that takes live shows created by Orad’s RadioTV and leverages Kaltura to provide a live and VOD portal, reaching viewers everywhere on any device. This solution fully automates switching between cameras during the live event. It also allows the producers to use various camera types: broadcast cameras, IP cameras and Skype feeds – all packaged with animated graphic overlays. This content is streamed via Kaltura and finally stored for VOD on the publisher’s MediaSapce.

RadioTV demo by Ehud Kulaker, Product Manager, Orad

 

Orad’s online video strategy – Itay Gissin, VP New Media, Orad

 

To learn more come see us at the Kaltura booth (H3.B20) and check out the demo at the Orad booth (H7.B27).

September 9th, 2013

Delivering Short Video News Using Kaltura and Facebook – How NewsBeat Social reached a Million Streams in 9 Months

by Iddo Shai



0_qlirwxywThe much beaten print media world was shaken once again last month when Jeff Bezos, the innovative Amazon CEO, announced that he was buying the Washington Post. For 136 years The Post has been synonymous with quality news reporting and that has not changed in the last decade. What did change is the number of people who actually flip through The Post every day. In 2002 the paid weekday circulation averaged 768,000 copies, according to regulatory filings. By last year it dropped 37% to an average of just under 481,000.

Where do these eyeballs get their news? Online, of course. Last January, while the executives of The Post have been struggling to maintain their bureaus around the world – Stanley Fields, NewsBeat Social Founder, and his partners walked into an empty production space in Portland, Oregon and founded an international news organization – NewsBeat Social. While The Post fought to keep its nationwide distribution operation, the folks of NewsBeat Social got a green screen, a few broadcast quality cameras, some computers, an Internet connection and a Facebook account. That was all it took to reach more than a billion potential viewers.

In the course of 8 months, NewsBeat Social went from zero to more than 200,000 likes. “Our growth has primarily been organic – we do not force anyone to “like” NewsBeat Social on Facebook. Our fans continue to watch our news, time and time again, from our shared belief in providing premium quality video news. Just this month we streamed over a million news videos to viewers all over the world”, says Tyler Peterson, Director of Operations.

The content model of NewsBeat Social is all about mass production of “snackable news videos”. The videos always add context to a story and open with a single anchor, which is followed by footage and sound bites delivered by reporters and news agencies, based all over the world. Once edited, the video is uploaded to Kaltura and streamed via Facebook to audiences that can view it directly on their news feed and mobile devices.

“Social media and mobile viewers prefer shorter, minute-long video rather than longer form content. People don’t have the attention span for more than that. After 1-minute, viewers start to drop off, no matter how good the content is”, says Fields. By now, this assumption is backed by real numbers provided by Kaltura’s analytics: in the US, 75% of viewers watch the video all the way through. The ad completion rate is over 90% across the globe.

“If you are looking at the online video space – 91% of the online video publishers out there are awful. We are playing in the top 2% that offers premium quality production and an elegant user experience”, says Fields.


newsbeat imageBy using Kaltura, NewsBeat Social is able to monetize its content without sharing it with a 3rd party video provider, such as YouTube. The Kaltura player is used to deliver a single 15 second pre-roll prior to every video. Today, the ads are delivered via Adapt.tv (which was acquired for $405 million in the week that The Post was sold for $250 million). However, due to a demand for audience guarantees and very high performance standards, NewsBeat Social is now focused on direct sales as well. “We also had conversations with top advertising agencies and two Fortune 10 brands who are unable to find our quality of targeted ad placement anywhere on the web.  As such, they are planning to do some major campaigns with us in the coming months”, says Brewster Crosby, the New Beat Soocial CFO.


By focusing on Facebook distribution, Newsbeat Social is able to reach a global audience. “Facebook provides the ability to engage our viewers directly”, says Fields, “through a single news video, our viewers are able to talk to one another. Where else can a soccer mom from Oklahoma have a conversation with an Egyptian on the streets of Cairo about the Egyptian revolution?”

The future of NewsBeat Social is, well, social. “NBS has plans to implement its news in a variety of other platforms, such as, Twitter and Linkedin. We’ve also listened to our fans and have begun building out NewsBeatSocial.com”, says Peterson, “we want to be the de facto social video news network that people come to rely on to get their balanced news from all over the world. That will require reporters and bureaus in multiple countries throughout the globe – we’re just getting started…”


If you want to check out some of NewsBeats Social’s videos – “like” their Facebook page here.

 

Article also published on FourthSource.

September 4th, 2013

Meet Kaltura at IBC Amsterdam

by Laura Djian

IBC 2013 logoSo are you all excited about next week as much as us? And no, we are not talking about the new iPhone 5S or 5C (or both) that are rumoured to be announced. We are actually more excited about all the cool announcements and demos that Kaltura has in store for IBC 2013, which will take place in Amsterdam (September 12th-17th). We will be there at Booth, Hall 3, B 20.

Like what, you ask? Well…

 

- Subscription based video portal– this week we released MediaSpace 5. The improved navigation, responsive design and the internationalised UI (Spanish, German and French) make it the perfect turn-key solution for global media companies looking to monetise their content using ads. However, we are also hard at work creating a subscription-based (SVOD) MediaSpace so customers can get access to great ad-free content by paying a monthly fee. We will share some more info on this during IBC – so make sure to stay tuned.

- The future of video streaming – come see a demo of MPEG-DASH adaptive streaming protocol, which has been developed by Google and Microsoft. We are really excited about this new streaming standard that is projected to make it so much easier to stream to Chrome and Internet Explorer browsers as well as the latest Android phones and connected TVs. MPEG-DASH also offers exciting capabilities when it comes to streaming live events. We have been experimenting with DASH and the Kaltura player, so be sure to drop by to see the two in action.

- The Kaltura player: now sexier and faster than ever – the robust Kaltura player is the crown jewel of our platform. It’s been the fastest and most feature rich HTML5 player for a long time. IBC feels like the perfect time to give it some nice upgrades with new skins, better mobile support, additional sharing capabilities and the best 508 compliant player in the market.

Capture d’écran 2013-09-04 à 17.42.11

- What else? – we have had great talks with some of the most innovative players in the live events broadcasting space. We will announce those partnerships during IBC. Keep following us here, on Facebook and LinkedIn.

Schedule a meeting – some of our top product and sales Kalturians will attend IBC and we want to meet you. If you would like to schedule a meeting, drop us a line here (info@kaltura.com)

Come to our booth – Kaltura will be exhibiting in the Israeli pavilion, so please make sure to come say hello – Booth, Hall 3, B 20.

See you next week!

August 12th, 2013

Vine Goes Mainstream: the Evolution of the 6 Second Revolution (Video)

by Asef.Ahmed

vine-twitterIn 2011, the social medium of images was the new hot thing with Instagram established and Snapchat in its infant stages. Despite the popularity of these apps, many people were still wondering: what’s next?

Fast forward two years, with the world experiencing Vine-fever and the recent launch of Instagram Video, video, now more than ever, is king. But what is it that makes apps like Vine so popular? Can a six second video truly be a work of art or is it just a reflection of our generation’s shortened attention spans? Perhaps, just like mainstream media, it is a bit of both. As Vine becomes decreasingly recognized as just another internet gimmick, it evolves into a form of expression that greatly mimics traditional media (or, perhaps, it is also the other way around). Consequently, Vine, like digital media in general, has started occupying six different realms of mainstream media.

 

1. Vine Awards at Film Festivals

Yes, Vines are being awarded at film festivals. The Tribeca Film Festival, cofounded by Robert Deniro, created #6SecondFilms to honor Vines. Seriously, what more artistic validation could Vines need than that from the Godfather himself. The Vines were separated into four categories: genre, series, animate, and auteur (Described as “[Vines that]told a story or script that was truly unique. A tiny, concentrated expression of the filmaker’s vision”) and were judged by an esteemed panel that included the King himself, Goldberg.

Here is this year’s winner in the “auteur” category titled “There is No Sunny Side to this Story”:

 

2. Celebrity Stars

Just like Twitter and Facebook, celebrities from Tyra Banks to Terminator have adopted Vine. However, what differentiates Vine from the other social media platforms is that celebrities have adopted it as a way to express art. Sure, there are some stars that prefer to just shoot a six second clip of whatever they are currently doing or an inane video that has little substance,  but there is a large number of them, like Goldberg, that actually use Vine to tell stories. These artists see Vine as a challenge. They recognize what Vine truly is (or can really be): the haiku of digital media. Like a haiku, a Vine is simple, short and restricted, yet, paradoxically  complicated, beautiful, and free for those same reasons. Take a look at one of Goldberg’s Vines, “Latency.”

 

3. Instructional Promotions

We’ve recently covered the use cases instructional videos and Vine provides another unique method. Companies are using Vine to promote their products while giving nifty tips. Lowe’s has launched their “#lowesfixinsix” campaign that illustrates simple life hacks. Lowe’s has achieved a marketer’s dream by compressing incredibly useful information into one absurdly brief, yet engaging clip. For example, you can learn how to prep your grill for the summer in six quick seconds.

 

4. Advertisements

The vast majority of companies that use social media do it for promotional purposes. However, one of the main concerns with publishing video is making sure that your content is engaging. Companies do not want to invest a substantial amount of money into an advertisement and see that viewers are tuning out. Vine, similarly to twitter,  solves this problem by accepting our attention spans for what they are: weak. Many companies, like Microsoft, have gotten creative and found ways to use Vine to create short yet informative content. Take a look at this episode from Microsoft’s Internet Explorer advertisement campaign “Not Your Father’s Browser” for IE 10. 

 

5. Journalism

Now, much more than ever, we are linked to the news in an almost inescapable fashion. Twitter has helped revolutionize modern journalism by providing instantaneous coverage of events around the world. Any action, catastrophe, election result is immediately uploaded to our feeds. Vine, similarly, provides the swift impact of twitter but also allows the viewer to survey what’s happening. The most famous example of Vine broadcast journalism was done by the Turkish Pulse, who captured the immediate aftermath of the tragic bombing of the U.S. embassy in Turkey. The Vine not only provides the viewer with the information of what happened (that there was a bombing at the U.S. Embassy in Turkey) but also gives the user a sense of the moment, similarly to traditional news coverage.

 

6. Sports

Vine is still in its early stages with broadcasting sports entertainment. Due to the legal ramifications of distributing content that is protected and owned by various leagues, there are not any Vines of actual games or matches. This is extremely unfortunate because Vine would be the perfect medium to relay a thunderous dunk, game winning goal, last-second touchdown, or any important athletic play. However, there have been some breeches into the sports industry with Vines capturing pre-game warm-ups. Look at this one from the Brooklyn Nets.

 

Vine is often dubbed as the “Twitter of video”, which is not far from the truth (Vine is even owned by Twitter). However, the impact of Vine can be so much more. With a 140 character limit, Twitter, like Vine, limits its users. But if a picture is truly worth a thousand words, then at 30 frames per second, Vine is worth at least 180,000 of them.

July 30th, 2013

Video Recommendations Do’s and Dont’s – Taboola Webinar (Video)

by Asef.Ahmed

Screen shot 2013-07-29 at 3.23.26 PM“People used to say content is king and that the main focus should be on creating the best content and if you do that everything is going to fall into place. We think thats actually a mistake….Does it even matter if you don’t have an audience? Does it even matter if you have the best subtitles, the best SEO efforts, the best Facebook page if no one is watching your videos?” In case you missed it, this is a quote from Taboola founder and CEO, Adam Singold, from our collaborative webinar from a couple weeks ago titled: “The Content Recommendation Revolution-Getting More from Video.” Adam’s point is that content is king but only if you have a kingdom (i.e. audience).

But how do you build that kingdom? The answer currently lies in content recommendations. Content recommendation distributors such as Taboola  help build your audience and monetize your content by having your content matched to the right viewers on top sites such as BBC, TMZ, and ESPN. This webinar breaks down the evolution of content discovery and promoted content, the best ways to build your audience, and the best practices for content discovery and monetization.

You can check out the full webinar for free on our website. In the meantime, enjoy this clip that demonstrates the do’s and dont’s of video recommendations.

July 12th, 2013

The Content Recommendation Revolution- Getting More From Video – Free Webinar

by Asef.Ahmed

 

taboola_logo-new-large

After countless hours of work, numerous edits, and seemingly an infinite amount of caffeine, you have finally finished creating your video. Now comes the hard part, how do you get people to watch it? Unless you are a major publisher, you will probably find it difficult to have your content stand out amongst the endless sea of videos online without shelling out big bucks.

At least that used to be the case. Thanks to content recommendation and distribution platforms like Taboola, you can more efficiently and effectively monetize your content and build your audience by having your content matched to the right viewers on top sites such as BBC, TMZ, and Time.com.

 Join Kaltura and Taboola for a free webinar that will cover do’s and dont’s of content discovery, share case studies of today’s leaders in video, and enable you time for Q&A.

This live webinar will be hosted on Thursday, July 18 at 2pm (EST). The date is approaching fast, so make sure you register today!

images

May 23rd, 2013

Online Video Monetisation Models: Which Will Prevail?

by Iddo Shai

Monetization Logo 2Two interesting reports have surfaced in recent weeks relating to online video monetisation.

First, the New York Times (NYT) decided to stop restricting access to its online videocontent for non-subscribers. While these non-subscribers are still limited to 10 articles per month, videos no longer count as part of that quota.

Second, according to a number of reports, YouTube is planning to start charging a fee of between $1.99-$5.00 per month for some of its specialist video channels. Some early reports suggest that some of YouTube’s most popular content providers, including Machinima and Fullscreen, have been approached by the company to come up with ideas for new paid channels.

Looking at those two news items, it is hard to see a clear trend. Why is NYT giving away its content for free while YouTube – which is owned by Google, a company that has always championed ‘free’ content – looks poised to start charging per channel?

However, I believe that these two developments imply a clear vision for monetising online video. But before I jump to the bottom line, let’s take a look at the different monetisation models available for online video.

Free

Ads: sponsored content, pre-rolls, mid-rolls, post-rolls

Services: New York Times, Hulu, some YouTube, Crackle

Paid-for ad banners have been the most popular video monetisation strategy since YouTube introduced online video to the masses in 2005. Initially, YouTube struggled to get sponsors to buy video ads on the site (cats playing piano while making risotto never translated to CPMs) but once professionally-produced content came along, online video was able to adopt the traditional commercial TV model of free content supported by quality advertising. Now CPMs are part of the game and, with Hulu introducing a more personalised ad strategy, these ads can potentially generate significant value for both Hulu and its advertisers.

Pros: it’s free!

Cons:  The viewing experience is constantly interrupted; ad personalisation is only in its early stages: some viewers note that Ad Tailor keeps showing the same ads no matter what.

Is an ad-supported model right for you as a video provider?

If you are a huge brand that has the potential to serve 400K ads per month or more, then this approach may work for you. If you are a smaller publisher, you would be better off using ad networks such as Adapt.tv or Tremor Video.

Flat fee, a la carte

Ads: none

Services: Netflix, LoveFilm, Amazon Prime, Qello

Netflix’s aggressive pricing approach has set a very high entry point for any content aggregator. Even with the recent cut the service has about 60,000 titles. Amazon is lagging behind with about 17,000 (and counting). The key here is licensing quality content – and this task has become significantly more difficult in the last three years, since the large studios and broadcasters started building their own digital hubs (BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, Hulu, Crackle, CBS.com, Vudu). However, Netflix keeps growing its user base thanks to exclusive content productions.

Pros: Premium content; exclusive content; no ads.

Cons:  Relatively old titles; only available via streaming.

Is this strategy right for you as a video provider?

Probably not, unless you have a vast amount of available cash (like Apple and Microsoft) or if you are in a position to license thousands of titles that would appeal to a very specific niche that is currently underserved by other services (e.g. Qello).

Pay as you go

Ads: none

Services: iTunes, Amazon, Vimeo, chill.com, Vudu, VHX

iTunes pioneered this monetisation model and its popularity has grown in the last year. With the decrease in streaming costs, it’s quite easy to set up a paid content website based on platforms like Kaltura. Using DRM (digital rights management) technologies like Widevine, the content is rights-protected and can be securely streamed across the web. Most websites using this business model operate on a revenue-share basis and pocket 10%-30% of the transaction fee.

Pros: Premium content; supports downloading and offline viewing; new releases.

Cons: More expensive.

Is this strategy right for you as a video provider?

This is the most popular monetisation option, since there is a clear business model and a relatively low barrier to entry. The technology is easy, accessible and very robust, however with giants like iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Vudu and even Vimeo  playing in this field, competition is fierce for new entrants.

Subscription Per Channel

Ads: ?

Services: YouTube (according to various reports)

If YouTube does decide to roll out subscription channels, it could transform the way we consume online video. The idea of paying $1.99-$5/month for an ‘a la carte’ online channel may seem appealing to many if the content is well curated and professionally produced. This move could potentially persuade basic TV channels to offer more content online too, perhaps targeted at special interest groups (e.g. fans of niche sports, gardeners, classical music lovers etc.). However, cord cutting would need to become a much stronger trend for that to happen.

Pros: A highly focused ‘a la carte’ service; low price; offline viewing (maybe).

Cons: Content may be limited.

So Which Model Will Prevail?

The entire industry is still waiting for a game-changing device that will truly disrupt the way we watch online video content in our living room. Apple’s highly anticipated TV was supposed to do just that, but it has never seen the light of day. Eventually, a smart, accessible, intuitive device will come along and streamed channels will move to our living room’s big screen.

Today, a satellite TV subscription in the UK averages out at about £47 per month, while an average cable bill in the US is around $130. If even a small percentage of this revenue eventually finds its way to new online channels, it will signify a major shift.

In terms of which models will prevail, I believe that we will always have a blend of services because video content is so diverse, both in terms of length and in production value. However, once the playing field is leveled, and watching online content on your main TV is commonplace, I think that paid-for, ‘a la carte’ channels will prove to be highly appealing for both viewers and providers. Viewers who cut the cord can then begin building their own TV packages of channels based on their own interests.

I also believe that many producers will choose to keep complete control over their content and use tailored and flexible platforms such as Kaltura, as opposed to being limited by a huge platform like YouTube.

On the other hand, free content models – like the one employed by the New York Times – will always have a place. Furthermore, the advent of new Smart TVs will make it much easier to interact with the content – and even be rewarded by advertisers. Would you take a five-minute survey in order to watch a free episode of Mad Men?

To sum up, we are living in the early days of the online television revolution. As new models are introduced and new players (like the New York Times) start to become great producers, it’s clear that this revolution is real and in time will transform the industry.

This blog post was originally published on Fourth Source.

 

April 4th, 2013

Increase Video Views and Conversion With A/B Testing

by Iddo Shai

shutterstock_110350520 [Converted]Zappos.com is famous for many reasons. The #1 reason may be the fact that it was one of the first online stores to offer free returns, making it easy for customers to overcome the limitation of not holding the product in their hands before committing to pay for it. The #2 reason for Zappos’ fame is its use of product videos that are focused on solving the exact same problem as the free returns – helping customers shift away from the brick-and-mortar store mentality.

The results were astonishing: an increase of 6%-30% in conversion. That is significant for a company that exceeds a billion dollars in annual sales. Thus far, Zappos has produced over 200,000 product videos and is well on its way to reaching the 250,000 videos goal.

Zappos considers video to be a vital part of its marketing efforts for two reasons. “Although we have seen an increase in conversion, what’s more important is the decrease in returns we’ve noticed. Regardless of conversion and free returns, if a customer receives a product they are unhappy with – they can become disenchanted,” said Laurie Williams, Senior Manager of Photo & Video for Zappos.

But the decision to produce videos is only one step in an organisation’s video strategy. No doubt it’s an important one, but, the way they are used to drive traffic, how they are presented on the page and the player’s performance could have a huge impact on video consumption on your website.

One of the best ways to make these decisions is by performing A/B testing: the same method that has become instrumental for UI designers and marketers in organisations such as NetflixGoogle and Amazon to examine how design impacts  user behaviour  could also work well when examining the ROI for your video investment.

Surprisingly, when it comes to video usage, A/B testing is not as common as you might think. However, there are some good examples of tests that could help you understand what factors impact video consumption and engagement.

 

1. Promise Videos

Video is a great way to get the customer to stay on your site longer and ultimately drive conversion. A good way to do that is by clearly communicating to the user that there are video previews available. Sometimes another word or video icon can make a big difference. For example, the site SixPackAbsExercises.com did a split testing on a sales page. As part of the test, the site tested two different versions of the same button:

1. The control was: “Next Page Read Sample of Book”;

2. Variation 1 was: “Watch Video Preview”;

3. Variation 2 was: “Watch my #1 Abs Exercise On Video”.

Variation 1:

variation 1

The best-performing variation (variation 1, see above) increased conversion by 14.18%, which clearly shows how “watching a video” is so much more attractive than reading a “sample of book”.

 

2. Use Narration

We usually hear that an image is worth 1,000 words, but the combination of images and words is much more powerful. As proof, take a look at an A/B test that was done for Biotone body crème videos. In this test, two videos were used:

  1. Version 1 – no voice over;
  2. Version 2 – with voice over.

Version 2 (with voice over):

The video with the VO over increased conversion by 50% – from 3% to 4.5%. This goes to show that converting an image gallery to a video wouldn’t necessary have a great impact, unless you invest in adding narration.

 

3. Optimise Your Thumbnails

Although we are often being told not to judge a book by its cover, we tend to do exactly that. Especially when it comes to videos and their thumbnails. A thumbnail should always represent the most exciting part of the video. Thumbnails should be sharp, high-quality images. We at Kaltura also usually find that people’s faces are more attractive than generic wide shots or computer screenshots.

One more factor is the size of the thumbnail/player in your website. This is especially important today, since much of our traffic comes from mobile devices where screen real-estate is scarce. Some interesting research done in the Netherlands examined thumbnails ranging from 60px to 110px; the bigger thumbnails performed slightly better. The main conclusion, however, was that dynamic thumbnails (a set of consecutive, moving, reduced-size images) worked far better than static thumbnails (a reduced-size version of a single static image). This was especially noticeable when the viewer was accessing the video via a mobile device.

 

4. Optimise Your Video Performance

When thinking of video, it is also important to keep in mind the startup time and video quality. These are performance factors that leading video providers like Kaltura continuously try to improve, no matter how fast the player loads.

Some research done by the University of Massachusetts and Akamai (which provides CDN services) showed that “a 1 second increase in (startup) delay increases the (video) abandonment rate by 5.8%”. Buffering issues have the same effect.

Interestingly, video quality didn’t have much impact on video consumption and abandonment rate. However, it did hurt repeated viewing, showing that websites with low quality video have fewer chances of being visited again by the same viewer: “the probability of returning within 1 week after a failed visit is 25% versus 27% after a normal one.”

 

5. Measure Wisely

Finally, if you find these conclusions interesting and you are ready to do some video-related A/B testing – you should also keep in mind what not to do. Most importantly, remember that video is a unique piece of content. Since it usually requires the viewer to take an extra step to consume it (click the play button), you shouldn’t compare it to other UI elements like images (just like the Obama campaigners chose to do here). Also, it’s important to use a video platform that allows you to both modify the players as well as track individual videos.

 

If you do all of that, you will soon find that you are able to get a much higher ROI on your video investment.

 

This blog post was originally published on Fourth Source.