Digital video, magazines and video-on-demand

We'll help you build the capability to deliver digital video to your audience and monetise it – from short-form or long-form video-on-demand services, to online video magazines, and through to linear and non-linear television channels.

You want to deliver a cross-platform video experience to mobile, tablet and desktop. You want your audience to watch, share and interact. You also need to monetise with pre-rolls/mid-rolls, sponsorship and on-page ads. We can help you bring all this together.

We'll help you build the capability to deliver digital video to your audience and monetise it – from short-form or long-form video-on-demand services, to online video magazines, and through to linear and non-linear television channels.

We'll embed new practices into your organisation to streamline content authoring and workflow. And we'll help you get your technology in shape to ensure you have a platform which can sustain rapid growth and significant traffic peaks.

Our expertise

We developed the digital platform for London's newest TV station, London Live. The site brings together linear and non-linear television, news, clips and curated social media into a single cross-platform experience

We also developed Crane.tv – a video magazine for contemporary culture. This gives users a high quality viewing experience on any device, and provides an easy to use authoring platform with a ‘drag and drop’ interface to build highly curated page layouts.

TV is undergoing a huge shift and there are new opportunities with digital platforms to deliver a unique and forward-thinking TV channel for London. The team are helping us achieve that goal.

Tim Kirkman
COO London Live

How to succeed

Who is viewing what? When? On which device?

From the outset, it is important to have a clear understanding of the characteristics of each viewer. This can be done by developing "personas" which segment your audience into five or six distinct groups, and to define the viewing habits and devices used by each group.

Consider what content is being consumed, when and on what device. Commuters using mobile devices at rush hour will have very different viewing patterns to users browsing the site on tablets and desktops.

Consider the device journey, whether you need functionality such as the ability to shortlist for later viewing, or to pause long-form content on one device and resume on another.

Different devices used across the day

Deciding on a set of output renditions

With users watching via different devices, and on both fixed and mobile connections, it is essential to ensure you support a number of video renditions.

Platforms such as Brightcove and Zencoder provide online encoding technology which can convert any video source into all common web formats. You should consider a set of output renditions which balance both bandwidth and quality, as well as target browser and device, to ensure you have suitable versions for playback across all desktop and mobile devices.

Different renditions for different devices

At the top are a modern desktop, retina and HDTV devices with fast processors and good quality graphics cards.

In the middle is a range of devices, each having different processors, potentially different network connections and screen resolutions such as older laptops and cheaper/smaller Android devices.

At bottom are the least capable devices, typically older phones with small screens and slower internet connections.

Using multiple renditions to ensure playback across all devices

Size vs. bandwidth

This all needs to be balanced against the cost of video storage and bandwidth – and the picture quality and bandwidth varies considerably across a set of different renditions.

Rendition (16:9) Bandwidth
1280x720 1.6Mbps
720x404 1072kbps
640x360 704kbps
480x268 436kbps
400x224 260kbps

Monetisation

With commercial stakeholders needing to monetise video content, it is important to consider when, where and how advertising should be served.

For example, should the number of pre-rolls and mid-rolls shown depend on the type and length of the content being viewed? Should pre-rolls be applied to short-form video content or sponsorship idents and player branding a better approach? Should pre-roll advertising apply to all users, even on their first time visit?

It is important to look at the overall revenue projections, the potential and desired make-up of that revenue and the benchmarks for achieving it.

The level of advertising should be balanced with the user experience and overall content strategy. We recommend testing a combination of fewer but larger display units which can be worked into the design (such as http://www.iab.net/risingstars), the use of interstitials, and testing the level of engagement when differing amounts of pre-rolls and mid-rolls are shown.

Things to consider include

  • The overall content strategy – does advertising prevent you from building up an online audience
  • The potential for including sponsorship
  • The use of pre-roll/mid-roll advertising – where, when, how much, and should users be allowed to scrub past adverts after a certain number of seconds
  • Whether advertising should be delivered when video content is shared across social media networks – and if so, how
  • Whether pre-roll/mid-roll advertising should still be served even if a user is trying to resume something they started watching earlier
  • Whether upstream ad stitching technology is more suitable than relying on the player to orchestrate advertising
  • Whether sufficient ad inventory exists from your chosen provider – and the quality and size of that inventory. It is also essential to check that the provider supports HTML5 mobile adverts (CORS-compliant)

Fundamentally, we believe you should provide highly targeted advertising and that this should work seamlessly across video (in-player) and website (on-page) content. This would typically mean an exchange of data between the website, the player and the advertising platform. This is the direction in which the industry is moving, and there is evidence of achieving higher CPM rates as a result of serving such targeted inventory.

We also recommend that you incorporate an element of A/B testing to measure the effect of increased advertising / advert placement on user engagement.

Example – London Live

With London Live, we leveraged open source HTML5 player technology to provide a range of player functionality – including in-player sponsorship as well as pre-roll, end-roll, in-player sharing and in-player

In addition, these functions can be selectively enabled and pushed out across different types of content – for example long-form programme content carries more advertising than short-form news and clips.

We also A/B tested different inventory providers via the players – testing both pre-roll and on-page companion adverts.

All player functionality can be managed and tested via the administration screens, allowing London Live to easily create and optimise the player experience for each type of content

How we help with digital video and online TV

We provide extensive technical design and build experience, designing integrated cross-platform video applications and content managed websites. We can help you to:

  • Translate business requirements into a technology blueprint
  • Seamless cross-platform video – linear and non-linear
  • Web platform and cloud architectures
  • Integrate content and video authoring workflows
  • On page and in-player video monetisation

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