The increasing interplay of video and social media

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A new era of video consumption, distribution and monetization

When Snap made headlines last year for surpassing Facebook’s video viewership its achievement of the 10-billion-video-views-per-day milestone underscored not only Snap’s staying power, but the growing importance of video to social media.

Increasingly video is being consumed over social networks. To wit, social platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Snap are all making big bets on video. Twitter’s acquisition of Periscope, Facebook’s launch of Facebook Live as well as 360-degree video is only a few of the first moves in what will be a new era of video.

What will be interesting to see is if this is a winner-takes-all match, or one where each of the players decides to own a different corner of the ring.

Let’s look at three different dimensions of the interplay of video and social media: how it’s consumed, how it’s distributed and how it’s monetized.

The rise of social video sharing

Social is changing the way video is consumed, taking it from a “lean back,” passive type of engagement to one where the audience is as much a part of the experience as the actors themselves. The ability to discuss and share in both real time and after the fact will not only super-charge engagement, but will also impact the very nature of video as a media. Just a quick scan of video consumption via several of the major social networks shows the massive scale of this opportunity:

Video energizes online experiences

One company looking closely at how to integrate video into its experience is Pinterest. “Video on Pinterest is actionable because it can be paired with other Pins, helping the user go from inspiration to action. A user can watch a video of a makeup brand showcased on Pinterest and be able to take further action on it by buying the product, or finding out how other users are applying it, and so on” said Mike Bidgoli, Head of New Ad Products at Pinterest. Some 55% of Pinterest users are there to find or shop for products according to Mary Meeker’s latest internet trends. “We think of Pins and boards as LEGO blocks. They can be put together to convey rich ideas. Video is an important LEGO block that combined with the other blocks can not only inspire users, but also enable them to take action,” says Bidgoli.

One of the big technical challenges is understanding how best to identifying the component parts of a video.  As Bidgoli puts it “understanding the content inside of a video is a meaty computer science problem.” We at Videogram agree! Our approach is to leverage machine learning to break videos down into their atomic elements thereby enabling both publishers and users to pin specific points in videos that are of particular interest and consume them in the most useful or enjoyable way possible.

A new era of personalization

We think of personalization today as a search recommendation or a pleasant welcome screen. But hold on to your chapeau, we’re on the cusp of a quantum leap in personalization. Let’s take a simple example: a movie trailer. In the future, there won’t be one trailer for everyone, there will be one trailer for you! A person with a certain social profile might see the car chase and helicopter rescue, while another might see the love scene and sunset. The content will look at you and form itself to your personality.

This kind of personalization will then compel distribution. Users will pluck the parts they want to share and promote them on social media. Their connections will then have a tailor-made experience and do the same. Viral 1.0 was a single virus. Viral 2.0 is a virus that mutates as its spreads!

“Social video is putting the consumer in charge. This is forcing the social platforms to focus on user experience and snack-able content,” Ian Monaghan, Special Operations Consultant at Adobe, said. “Users are demanding that video be relevant and easily discoverable.”

The current state of the art for many publishers is creating shorter and shorter forms of content. Here at Videogram we see this approach is a race to the bottom, as the content itself loses context and relevance. Shorter-and-shorter-form content is just a bandaid over the technological limitations of current platforms for enabling user-directed consumption and distribution. What are needed are solutions (like ours) that enable users to share specific parts of a video, while maintaining the integrity of the content as a whole. Essentially enabling sub-experiences and offshoot conversations. These kinds of capabilities create both higher engagement and increased distribution.

The pre-roll is dead, long live the pre-roll!

A single ad placed at the start of a single, long, video will always struggle to capture the attention of the consumer. However, rather than thinking of a video as an asset with only one advertisable moment – it’s start – what if a video is instead a treasure trove consisting of any number of opportunities for monetization?

The greater the relevance to the consumer, the more likely they are to consume the companion advertiser media. As such a part of a video shared in the flow of a vibrant discussion, or in the context of a greater overarching experience is going to be a much more compelling conveyance for advertising. Further, if the users in in control of an experience tailored to them, they will likely be much more receptive to receiving a greater number of advertisements as they hop from relevant content to relevant content. In short, give the user what they want, and they will pay you for the favor.

The platforms that figure this out first will be big winners. Ad dollars are moving from TV to digital video, fast. According to a report from eMarketer in June of 2016, digital video ad spending in the U.S. is expected to be in the double digits until the end of the decade, more than doubling from $7.66 billion in 2015 to $16.68 billion in 2020. At the same time, ad spending on TV will grow by no more than 2.5 percent in those same years.

Digital video ad spending won’t catch up to TV ad spending any time soon, as those numbers will be over $70 billion annually, quadruple the amount spent on digital video, but the gap is closing. In 2014, TV ad spending was over 1,200 percent more than digital; in 2020, it will be 362 percent higher.

It was recently reported that Facebook is going to be testing mid-video ad rolls on videos that are at least 90 seconds long. A user has to watch a minimum of 20 seconds to be shown an ad, and Facebook is capping ad length at 15 seconds. The company began testing mid-roll ads in live videos last August.

However, not everyone agrees with this strategy, including Balderton Capital Partner (and Blinkx Media founder) Suranga Chandratillake.  He feels that “while these ads may work for television, they are disruptive on Internet enabled devices, and aren’t innovative enough for the format.” Chandratillake goes on to add that “professional video has not seen much innovation other than Netflix. However social video market continues to grow. The consumption of online video is huge in terms of volume, the challenge is in monetization.”

Adobe’s Monaghan adds “social media platforms are now creeping into the publisher’s world, a world which has been historically focused on linear distribution and 30 second unskippable ads. This makes no sense for social video, where content is shorter and the experience more fluid. The challenge is to now to come up with more innovative solutions.”

And the innovation is just getting started. One of the new frontiers of social and video is gamification. Will James, APAC Sr Technical Director at Kaltura says that “Gamification is a frequent request from studios and content holders, but they’re just starting to figure out how this lifts conversion or arpu.”

Simple gamification models like receiving rewards for actions (think getting a free song on iTunes for sharing a clip) will probably be the first wave of innovation, but the potential models and combinations are endless and are an area we’re actively exploring at Videogram.

Flexibility

Video has historically been big, bulky and unwieldy. It’s the oil tanker of content – able to deliver a huge cargo, but unable to turn on a dime. That’s all about to change. As consumers demand flexibility, publishers, advertisers and technology enablers will race to find ways to meet the need.

Social media will be the venue of these changes. It will be where consumption and distribution blend together, and where new forms of monetization will emerge. The winners will be the ones able to adapt the fastest to rapidly changing consumer demands.

Social video will be flexibile video.

 


Introducing Videogram Channel Embed on Websites for YouTube Channel

Screen Shot 2016-02-12 at 1.00.41 PMWe have launched the Channel Embed feature.   This is a simple way for any website owner to convert their YouTube  channel into Videogram format and embed the whole channel into the video section of the site without any effort. The feature is free to use. It can be used whether the video content is third party’s or  yours.

Step 1:  First we need to sync your YouTube channel with Videogram.  In order to do that,  you need to create a Videogram Publisher Account.   Please go to the below link to create Videogram Publisher Account:

http://publisher.videogram.com/

Step 2:  Verify and Login into your Videogram publisher dashboard at

http://dashboard.videogram.com/

Click on Create and then add new channel by clicking on “+Add Channel”.  This will create a new channel at videogram.com.  Any name that is not already taken at videogram.com can be used.

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Step 3:  Select the new channel you created and then click on YouTube network and authenticate your YouTube channel.  This process will link your YouTube channel with your Videogram channel.   Each time you upload a new video to YouTube, that video will auto sync with your channel on Videogram.com at regular intervals.

Screen Shot 2016-02-12 at 1.14.27 PMWhen you sync your YouTube channel with Videogram for the first time, we auto convert your most recent 10 videos from YouTube into Videogram format under your channel.  Every 24 hours, we poll YouTube for new videos that you have uploaded and auto convert them into Videogram and place them under your Videogram channel.

Step 4:   Once your YouTube Channel is put to auto sync with your Videogram Channel, you can then embed your Videogram channel into your website.

There are two ways to embed a Videogram Channel on your website.   1.  iFrame  2.  Script.

iFrame:

Add width, height, border etc. to match your site. We recommend width=”100%”, and a minimum height is required, at least 400px. Either inline attributes or css will work.  The tag “your-channel-name” must be replaced with the actual channel name.

A limitation here is that scrolling will occur in the iFrame and not in the main page, and the video player is restricted to the iFrame. This is a browser limitation.

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Click here to see a live example of Channel Embed using iFrame.

Script:

To get around the browser frame rules, Videogram provides a script you insert into your page which will handle the mechanics of eliminating the scroll within a scroll. The script version also delivers you a second benefit where any Videograms shared to socials networks from the script version will bring users back to the Channel Embed on your website to play the Videogram.

Two parts are required:  Insert the one line of Javascript below any place on your main site page, and create a container where you want your channel content to appear.

The Script:

And a suitable container for the content (replace “your-channel-name” with your Videogram channel name).

The class “videogram-channel” is required.  You can add custom styling and additional class names as you wish, but do not put the container inside a fixed-height object – the container gets bigger to contain the channel content.

Social-network sharing will return to your website instead of videogram.com. If you want shared links to go to a different url add the following to your page:

Set the value to false if you want to disable this feature. Shared links will then return to the player page on videogram.com. ( pro tip: the default value is document.location.href )

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Click on this link to see a live example of Channel Embed using script.

The channel-embed script will append an iframe to each channel container and will set basic properties. Width will be 100% of the container, height will start at 500px.

You should NOT style frames to “not scroll” ( overflow: hidden or scrolling=”no” ) – If you do then it will break the auto-load function.

As content loads into the Channel Embed, the frame height will be increased to match the content. The process is progressive, and it will repeat itself until the last Videogram is reached and frame does not scroll.

Content will play in a full-window overlay, users can add their own style to show elements of their site behind the player. The player’s CSS id is “videogram-player”.

If an element exists with the id “videogram-player-container”,  the player will go there and the CSS class “videogram-visible” will be added and removed. Otherwise the player will be appended to the document body. This way site owners has full control of the player location.

For third party content: Skip Step 1 thru Step 4.  Get channel link  from videogram.com (example: http://www.videogram.com/channel/tyrabeauty).  Then repeat the iFrame or Script instructions above replacing  “your-channel-name” with channel name from the URL.

If you need help with any of the above, please mail support@videogram.com


Videogram Auto Embed for Web Sites / Blogs

blogWorks on YouTube, Vimeo, and Dailymotion video embeds. Keyframes shared from the Videogram on your site drive social media friends back to your site where they automatically start watching from the shared keyframe. No change to how your video views are counted.

This is a simple way for any website owner to convert their YouTube embeds or Vimeo embeds into Videograms without any effort. The feature is free to use. It can be used whether the video content is yours or a third party’s.

Videogram Auto Embed is one line of Javascript. When this script is inserted into any webpage or website, all embeded videos from YouTube, & Vimeo are converted into Videogram embeds. Videogram embed is responsive and can replace any size video embed on your site irrespective of web, mobile, console display, or smart tv. You can see samples of what a video will look like at various sizes here.

The original embed (YouTube or Vimeo) will show until the Videogram is created.  But once a Videogram is created, the Videogram shows instantaneously on the next load of the page.

Below is the one line of code that needs to be added to your home page to auto-embed Videogram on your site.   You can continue to publish YouTube or Vimeo videos to your website and our script will pick them up and render Videograms on all future page load.

In the rare event the Videogram server cannot be reached then our script will fail silently and the site will continue with the original YouTube or Vimeo embed. There is no impact on your website’s performance.    If the site has other video platform embeds (Ooyala, Brightcove, etc) then we don’t interfere and the original embed will continue to load.

If by any chance that you don’t like the results then all you have to do is remove the one line of javascript website or webpage and your site is back to using YouTube or Vimeo embeds as it was before.

More details…


In an event that you don’t want certain YouTube or Vimeo embeds to be shown as Videogram via the Auto Embed script then you can add a class=no-videogram to the embed code.

Sample

API Account Key support is provided.

Optional: Without an API Account Key all newly generated Videograms from your website or webpage will go into Videogram’s holding account where they await the content owner to claim them. If you are the owner or have right to the video content, then for a website or webpage where only such content is present, you can implement the API Account Key javascript line.
To use this feature, you must have an account (available at publisher.videogram.com). Once you generate the API Account Key from our system or if we give it to you then any Videogram being created from your API Account Key will also be added into your account and you can see it from the Publisher Dashboard.

Sample

Test Flag Support

In case you don’t want to send your videos for Videogram creation then you can use the test flag. When this flag is set, we show your Youtube and Vimeo videos as Videograms if they exist already but we DO NOT create new Videograms.

Default value of test flag is: false

Sample

Extra Url Parameter Support

In case you want to convert some video into Videogram and add some parameter to it then you can do that.
Any parameter we support on Embed or Card url can be supported here. Example of such parameters can be :

custom styling of embeds
Custom zoom
autoplay on or off etc.

Sample


Building a Sustainable Multi Channel Network.

By Sandeep Casi

Multi Channel Networks,  a term used for talent owned & curated content distribution agencies and predominately made popular by Maker Studios, Fullscreen, & Collective Digital Studios, has created a gold rush after the 2014  acquisitions of Maker by Disney, Fullscreen by Chernin group, and  a 20% stake in Collective Digital Studios by ProSiebenSat.1.

It seems like there is an MCN sprouting almost every other day with large content holders (studios) to small independent agencies buying into the trend.  Most of these MCNs are predominantly attached at the hip to the popular video platform operated by Google.  Their platform  provides quick go-to-market deployment with free bandwidth, storage and destination site  in return for revenue-share. While this seems like a good partnership in the early days, it is a raw deal for the MCN in the long term.

Here are the large challenges that an MCN that is using their platform encounters.

The Collective:  Their platform owns the User & the Advertiser.  The MCN  plans the logistics, funds the talent to film the content and readies the asset for distribution.   The MCN gets revenue share of some significance in the short term. The overall long term issue is that the MCN is insignificant without being part of the collective which that platform represents.  This effectively means that the MCN will live or die at the mercy of this video hosting platform.

The Pandora’s Box:  MCNs spend a lot of money in terms of time and marketing to capture the eyeballs of consumers on social networks,  and from their direct-to-user marketing list to bring traffic to the video platform for consumption of their content. However, once the user consumes the MCN’s content, the video platform leverages and offers cross promotional content that has nothing to do with the MCN’s content.  This then means that the MCN drives traffic to the video platform and the video platform can redirect the traffic and monetize on other publishers’ content or its own content at will. This diversion is not only loss of immediate revenue for the MCN but potentially loss of the user. The diversion also lessens the integrity of the MCN’s brand.

In order for an MCN to have a sustainable business.  It needs to own the user and the traffic.  In order to achieve this, the MCN needs to be in control of curation — Destination Site.   However, this requires the MCN to rewire its strategy as well as its operations.   Till this strategy revision is the done,  every bit of coin the MCN mines will continue to be ambushed by the video platform.