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.

 


Videogram API

VIDEOGRAM CREATE API

OVERVIEW

Accepts standard form POST, gets the remotely-hosted movie via server-to-server, processes it into a videogram and sends an email when ready. Processing time varies depending on video length and server load, but is usually less than 5 minutes.

Pre-Req:

Create a free publisher account at http://cinemacraft.tv/solutions#register-form and then mail API@videogram.com for the API_KEY

API CALL

http://www.videogram.com/api/videogram/

DESCRIPTION

Accepts: application/x-www-form-urlencoded; charset=utf-8 method: POST (all parameters required)

api_key: <xxx>

url:(Accepts top-page / share urls from most services like Vimeo, Dailymotion, Youtube etc. or a direct url of any streamable .mp4 file).

title: Title of the Video.

email: A message will be sent to this address when the video has been processed, the id and url of the finished videogram will be in the email.

RESPONSE

200 : Ok + detailed info in JSON format

400 : Bad Request

403 : Forbidden ( i.e. bad / missing api key )

500 : Internal Server Error 400 series responses include details in JSON format.

500 series responses contain no useful information in the response body.

EXAMPLE:

Result:

If you want to generate a plain link to the player page, use the vgsurl value. If you want the link to autoplay from a particular time, append ?autoplay=12345 to vgplayerurl, where the number is the desired autoplay time in milliseconds. The short url does not pass the query string. Embed urls can be made simply by vgplayerurl.replace(‘comic’,’embed’) and also support autoplay. Standard embed iframe code looks like this

 

You must declare width and height, but you don’t have to do it inline. Heights such as 80vh work quite well, and the width in the above example allows the embed to flex with the page.


VIDEOGRAM LIST API

OVERVIEW

Accepts standard GET request, replies with JSON-encoded information.

API CALL

http://www.videogram.com/api/channel/get/videos/?api_key=<xxx>&offset=0&limit=10

DESCRIPTION

accepts: text/plain method:

GET (all parameters required)

api_key: <xxx>

offset: Start at this value if you want to do list paging. Normally 0. limit: you get this many items back.

RESPONSE

200 : Ok + detailed info in JSON format. see below for example

400 : Bad Request

403 : Forbidden ( i.e. bad / missing api key )

500 : Internal Server Error 400 series responses include details in JSON format. 500 series responses contain no useful information in the response body.

EXAMPLE:

http://www.videogram.com/api/channel/get/videos/?api_key=xxx

 LIST VIDEOGRAM OUTPUT

 

NOTES

If you want to generate a plain link to the player page, use the vgsurl value. If you want the link to autoplay from a particular time, append ?autoplay=12345 to vgplayerurl, where the number is the desired autoplay time in milliseconds. The short url does not pass the query string. Embed urls can be made simply by vgplayerurl.replace(‘comic’,’embed’) and also support autoplay. Standard embed iframe code looks like this

You must declare width and height, but you don’t have to do it inline. Heights such as 80vh work quite well, and the width in the above example allows the embed to flex with the page.


Atomos Announce “Atomos Videogram” the Future of Pro Content Delivery and Promotion

low-res(Atomos-Videogram-Vertical-Landing)Melbourne, Australia – 13th April 2015: Videogram is an award winning platform for discovery, engagement and monetizing of online video. Set to be a huge deal for filmmakers, the online platform takes an existing Vimeo or YouTube video and creates a pictorial summary based on an advanced algorithm, leaving the viewer with a tiled summary of the entire clip by scene, with tile sizes reflecting importance. The process is simple and automated with a dashboard to fine tune to the videographer’s preference. The format allows the user to pick and choose where to start watching and in turn share, like and comment on just that section of the video. Filmmakers could have their demo reel on Videogram and know from the analytics which parts in particular are creating engagement with potential clients, Sports broadcasters can use it to create single page summaries of the game, and Wedding videographers can use Videogram to succinctly convey the mood of the event they have captured.

Atomos have worked with Videogram to create a dedicated destination (atomos.videogram.com) whereby we will take videographer footage and allow them to create Videograms for free.

“I truly believe the industry has been screaming for this type of pictorial story telling, obsoleting the one tile per video we are used to and actually allowing users to navigate to parts of their pro video or commercial content visually and play that content with the click of a button. Atomos customers and any content creation professional can utilize this amazing service to showcase their work with viewers consuming in

the most advanced way ever.” said Jeromy Young CEO of Atomos.

“With Atomos Videogram you can showcase your videos in the Videogram format at no cost to you.” said Sandeep Casi, founder of Videogram. “Videogram is a revolutionary user experience format that Showtime, Sony, Capital Records, Turner, Warner, CBS, ABC, Disney, Fox, HBO and others have field tested and are preparing to deploy. Atomos is the leading edge technology brand for producing high resolution pro quality content, now we bring you that leading edge for the consumer experience of your content.”

The Founder of Videogram, Sandeep Casi will be presenting at the Atomos 4K Dome (Central Hall, C8825) on Wednesday and Thursday at NAB

About Atomos

Atomos exist to help creative professionals cut through technology barriers by creating easy to use, cutting edge products including 4K & HD Monitor-recorders, a pocket size ProRes recorder, signal converters & power management solutions. Each product serves a different need but all share the common benefit of enabling a faster, higher quality and more affordable production schedule for video professionals.

Atomos is based in Australia with offices in the USA, Japan, China and Germany and has a worldwide distribution partner network. Further product information can be found at www.atomos.com with the Atomos community active on Facebook (/atomosglobal), Twitter (@Atomos_News), Vimeo (/atomosvideo), YouTube (/AtomosVideo) and Videogram (atomos.videogram.com).

About Cinemacraft

Cinemacraft is the company behind the Videogram platform. Videogram makes media discoverable, engage-able, measureable, and monetize-able. We change the user experience and the way people consume online visual media. The change in the user experience releases the greater value of media. Our technologies are incorporated into our platform and offered as Cloud Services. Videogram is used

in website embeds, social feeds, Ad networks, live streaming, and electronic programming guides. We also empower Multi Channel Networks and smartphone Apps bringing rich navigation and social features. For more information visit us at http://www.cinemacraft.com/.


Blended Approach to Pre-Roll / Auto Play Video ads

By Sandeep Casi

In the last blog article, I talked about the format wars between pre-roll skip video and auto play video and how neither will reign supreme. I also concluded that iterations on existing ad roll format are required to find one that could be more effective.

My own article got me to thinking about what how our technology could be used to innovate. We are already seeing agencies use Videogram to serve video into skyscraper banner ad units. I wondered what we could do additionally at smaller sizes to deliver more powerfully the benefits of a Videogram. What follows is an innovation and an iteration of existing ad formats to bring balance to the consumer as well as the advertiser.

I present to you a blended ad card . This Videogram ad card incorporates key aspects of auto play as well as pre-roll video. In order to produce the Videogram ad card, the video is indexed at the signal level and clips that are of importance based on color, motion, image similarity, and clip duration are extracted.

In the above  example, the summary of the video is presented in 5 frames. The top frame is the summary of the video in an 8 second animated gif format. Clicking on the top frame will play the video from the beginning. The next four frames under the animated frame are important events in the video extracted via our patented algorithm and clicking on them will stream the video from that segment. This provides the consumer two dimensions of discovery. The animated gif provides an overall summary of the video and the important frames provides direct access to stream from specific points in the video.

The blended Videogram ad card solves the following problems of pre-roll and auto play videos.

No Click Bait & No Negative Association

The user is able to understand the context of the video via the animated gif summary. What you see is what you get. The merit of the click-thru is now entirely based on the value of the content.   In fact, the consumer likely found the 3rd frame of the card or the 3rd second of the animated gif enticing enough to click through to consume the video. This does not happen when you have a single frame video embed as there is no choice for the consumer to sample the video. The fact that they choose to click into and were not baited means there is no negative association.

Managed Negative Disruption

Now that the consumer understands the value of the content, they would be willing to sit through a short pre-roll. Throw in a 10 second pre-roll instead of a 30 second skippable pre-roll.  Users are used to waiting for a 5 second skip button, but the fact they know a bit more about the video due to the Videogram ad card will in all likelihood have patience to endure the 10 second ad before they get to the content they like to see.    As such, negative disruption can be managed to a point that the user is willing to tolerate the ad-roll.

 Managed Mobile Cost Burden on Viewer

The Videogram card at best has to download (or stream) 15 gif frames.   The bandwidth needed would be less than what a user needs to render one html page on any site  on their mobile (Facebook for example).   Furthermore, the Videogram card will only load when the card is in view on the mobile screen and thus saving more bandwidth for the user.

The Videogram card is an iteration based on skippable pre-roll and auto play. In deployment with ad networks using Videogram in ad units, we have found its format to be more effective when compared to skippable pre-roll and auto play. This new ad card format we expect will boost performance even higher.  Please visit us at NAB booth http://bit.ly/1A8FX0H in Las Vegas and we can share more info about Videogram and it’s effectiveness in the market.  You can get a free guest pass for the NAB show with code LV2455.