Broadcasters, brands embracing live online video

Growth in live streaming and interactive videos are two key trends according to the local head of Brightcove

Live broadcast and the integration of interactive elements within playback are two of the big trends getting significant traction in the online video space according to the local head of Brightcove.

“Live is a huge area at the moment,” said Mark Stanton, the GM of Australia and New Zealand at the video streaming company.

Australian broadcasters are expanding their online video offerings and embracing the potential of live streaming of shows, Stanton said.

(Seven, Nine and Ten are all customers of Brightcove.)

In addition to streaming regular programming (through services such as 7Live and 9Now), broadcasters are finding ways to expand their audience through online-only live offerings, Stanton said.

He gave the example of Seven’s coverage of the Australian Open. “They were live streaming 16 courts concurrently — so you had centre court but you also had kids playing out on another court at the same time and you could choose what the stream was,” Stanton said.

“It was very, very successful for them. It’s a great user experience and that live moment really attracts users. It’s one thing to have catch-up content where you can watch the highlights or watch the whole game again. What we’re seeing in the data is that when you offer that event live that’s when you get people really voting with their feet and jumping online.”

Increasingly traditional TV companies see online as a way of escaping constraints on the number of channels they can broadcast, he added.

“I think they would love to have a dedicated shopping channel, and fishing channel, and golf channel, and cooking channel. With IP-based delivery they’re not capped in terms of how many those channels they can run.”

There is also growth among non-traditional broadcasters, Stanton said. For example, sporting codes that may not be commercially viable for live TV can offer online, subscription-based broadcasting.

“Think of surfing,” he said. “We’ve been doing live with cricket for quite a long time but think of all those sports that may not get their air time on a broadcast channel — how do they get to their audience?

“I think Red Bull have really shown that if you can package that content up in an interesting way and deliver it to the devices that people want, there is an audience there.”

Streaming of games, such as the online broadcasts of League of Legends, is one such area seeing significant growth, he added.

“[League of Legends publisher] Riot Games do incredible numbers for live streaming tournaments and live streaming top-level teams playing each other.”

As an example of integrating interactive elements with video Stanton cites jewellery retailer Michael Hill. “They really pioneered ‘shoppable’ video,” he said

As a product is displayed in a video, information about such as the price is displayed on the site and a browser can click through to purchase the piece.

Training, such as periodic compliance training in the financial services sector, is another example of where interactive elements are being integrated, in the form of questionnaires and integrated assessment tasks, he said.

Stanton said a third key video trend was the growing use of web-video streaming relying on web standards, thanks to HTML5.

“You can now deliver a premium video experience with top-level DRM security without any plugs-ins — you don’t need Silverlight, you don’t need Flash — it will work on Chrome, it will work on the latest IE, it will work on iOS/safari. I think that’s game changing.

“I’d say we’re kind of half way through the journey. It became real in the last 12 months… There are some questions about where Firefox is going to sit, so not every browser is equal. But Microsoft and Google are really pushing ahead with this [and] Apple have gone pretty far down the track as well in supporting this.”

Brightcove was founded in 2004 by Jeremy Allaire, the creator of Coldfusion.

Allaire’s original company, Allaire Corporation, was bought by Macromedia, which was later bought out by Adobe. Allaire played a key role in introducing video into the Flash player at a time where video playback generally meant relying on RealPlayer, QuickTime or Windows Media Player, instead of video being integrated into a web page.

Brightcove is NASDAQ listed and has around 400+ staff at some 15 offices around the world. The company has about 6000 customers, split between media organisations and non-media enterprises and brands.

In Australia, in addition to the Seven, Nine and Ten, Fairfax, Stan and News are customers.

Brands such as Tourism Australia and Toyota are “doubling down on video content,” Stanton said.

“Globally for us that’s a huge market. We call that the digital marketing side. It’s really people who are just extending their websites and their mobile apps with video as part of those experiences”

In Australia and New Zealand, Brightcove’s customers are skewed more towards the media sector than globally, Stanton said.

“We have been very successful in media down here,” he said.

Partly that’s because in North America and Europe CMOs are willing to take more risks, he said.

“There’s a bit more of a risk aversion here in terms of people looking to adopt new technologies and new ways of delivering their message,” he said.

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