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2015

So you and your company have decided to build your own video publishing platform. You’re deep into designing and building games, and suddenly you become convinced you can connect with your users better through video; extend your brand with a more proactive video strategy. And what’s even better than that? You know that your users love to create and share videos of their exploits, so you’ll also have a ready source of content.

Limelight’s research into online video The State Of Online Video and the experience of one of the top extreme sports sites, EpicTV, together provide some quick tips for building your platform and successfully leveraging video to engage with your users:

  • Keep the bulk of your content short. Limelight’s research shows that Millennials in Limelight’s research average less than 40 seconds per video, unless they fall into the 35% or so who consistently put up with ads and multiple re-buffering in order to watch their videos all the way through.

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  • Aim for repeat viewing. Your most avid video consumers watch 4-7 hours of video a week, with 30% watching over 7 hours. Plan on refreshing your site multiple times during the week, and help viewers find content similar to what they’ve watched already. 
  • Make ads skippable and personalized. Your ad campaigns need to be as tailored as your video content. Deliver ads that have meaning to your users. If you don’t personalize the ad experience, you are sending the wrong signal to your viewers about having the same interests and passions as they do.
  • Pay attention to titles. EpicTV puts extensive effort into titling new videos and then promoting them on social media. “When we decide to publish a video the first thing we do is sit down and knock out 20 different titles then pick the best couple based on the sport, the intended audience, and the timing of the release.”   Q&A With EpicTV
  • Offer something exclusive. Invest in content that is available nowhere else. It doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be as simple as inviting an expert commentator to talk about what he/she does with your game, or a user testimonial showing a real life application. Better yet, invest in series of videos covering “snackable” topics related to your game or product.
  • Share the wealth. Obviously you’re inviting users and fans to share their videos on your site, but how about offering prizes for best video in a certain category, or for best demonstration of a particular feature? Rewarding your video-creating fans is a great way to keep them engaged. If you have built a platform that grows in popularity, you can “share the wealth” by embedding videos people have posted elsewhere related to your area.
  • Cross promote on social media. Promote your followers’ cool stuff! You may even need more than one Facebook page. In fact, EpicTV’s Ted Endo comments, “We are spread across so many sports that we realized we couldn’t do each community justice unless we created a separate Facebook page to cater to the interests of each community.”
  • Plan for a quality viewing experience, regardless of platform. Multi device viewing is common now. 41% of online video viewers in the study expect videos to play as well on their phone as on a desktop device, so don’t allow for any major quality degradation between PC and phone viewing.

Building a video sharing platform is not easy, even if you are just doing it as a brand extension for your existing product line--but with the right broadcast infrastructure it can be easier than you think and can be an extremely valuable part of your customer engagement strategy. See also:   Four Ways to Succeed in Online Video  and Limelight Solution for Media & Broadcasters .

Sources

"The State of Online Video." (2015): 1-20. Limelight Networks. Limelight Networks, Inc., 1 Jan. 2015. Web. 24 Sept. 2015

"Q&A with EpicTV's Digital Content Manager, Ted Endo. EpicTV, 25 Sept. 2014. Web. 24 Sept. 2015.

Getting the right learning tools to visually and hearing impaired students worldwide is no easy task, especially with the disparate technology at different school systems.  We're thrilled to provide the video delivery platform to help make it easy and cost-efficient for Described and Captioned Media (DCMP) to get students the learning tools they need.

 

Since 1955, non-profit organization DCMP has promoted and provided equal access to communication and learning for K-12 students with visual and/or hearing impairment – across the US and to military and other US families abroad. DCMP offers nearly 7,000 full-length educational videos cost-free to teachers, parents, and service professionals, who rely on being able to provide an efficient, reliable, and accessible media delivery experience for their students.

 

DCMP needed to keep up with rapid changing media and delivery technologies, while minimizing costs.  They chose the Limelight Orchestrate Video platform to address these challenges.

 

“We need to create software and user experiences that are specific to our students’ needs, and then deliver a huge library of media assets to Macs, iPads, PCs, mobile apps and Roku. With Limelight, we are now able to scale to meet the increasing demand for online delivery of content to a wide variety of connected devices around the world. Since implementing Limelight, support issues have pretty much gone away.”

-        Kyle Sisk, Information Systems Manager at DCMP.

 

A copy of the press release is posted to our website, and can be found here.

A copy of their case study is also posted to our website, and can be found here.

Retail websites are the front door to the shopping experience, and have a major influence over sale conversions both in-store and out. Click here to read Retail Information Systems News’ Q&A with Limelights' VP of Operations, Dan Carney, on how retailers can create a secure, fast, feature laden, dynamic online experience that puts the brand's best foot forward.

Recently, Volkswagen AG (VW) made the news not for its cars but for all the wrong reasons. A “discrepancy in installed software” in its diesel cars led to incorrect emission readings, violating several environmental laws across the United States and impacting over 11 million cars worldwide. How severe was the damage due to “dieselgate”? Within days VW announced its plans to keep aside over EUR 6.5 billion to cover costs and service-related expenses towards the software glitch in its diesel automobiles. The CEO resigned amid the scandal. The damage was not just limited to the environment alone – the brand itself is suffering from customer/prospective customer mistrust and potential abandonment. Even the stock market reacted sharply to the issue and the VW stock nosedived. While the software glitch could be patched up rather easily by bringing the car to a service center, it could be months before all the vehicles on the road can be updated to “fix” the issue.  This clearly points to a severe lack of Over-The-Air update strategy.

 

While this software discrepancy is neither the first nor the last of issues related to software glitches, there is a pattern on how the traditional automobile industry responds to situations like these

 

All of the below recalls in 2015 were due to software glitches:

  1. Ford recalled over 432,000 cars due to software issues
  2. Fiat recalled 7800 SUVs over software glitches
  3. Fiat-Chrysler recalled over 1 million vehicles to prevent them from being hacked
  4. Toyota recalled over 63,000 hybrids due to software problems
  5. Group of “ethical hackers” were able to remotely control and “kill” a Jeep Cherokee

 

What is the pattern that we observe?

  1. Manufacturer discovers an issue in the vehicle attributable to a software glitch
  2. Company issues a recall and notifies customers
  3. Customers bring vehicles to service centers for a “software update” or fix
  4. Process takes months to complete and millions of dollars
  5. Company’s brand and/or reputation is damaged

 

Is there a way to optimize this whole chaos, and in turn prevent customers from discomfort, and save the automobile manufacturers millions of dollars?

 

If we look around, the problem has already been solved. In February 2014, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration published two recall announcements – for the same issue affecting automobiles manufacturers. The vehicles were at risk of catching fire, and there was a safety issue due to a software problem. While GM had to spend millions on 370,000 vehicles recalled over the next few months to update the software at its designated dealerships, Tesla conducted Over-The-Air-Updates of the software system - an overnight fix.

 

So, what did Tesla do right here?

  • Its cars are Internet enabled not just for the “infotainment” systems
  • It could troubleshoot the cars remotely
  • It could update/patch the software Over-The-Air (OTA)
  • It didn’t require customers to bring vehicles to dealerships
  • It expedited the time-to-service and potentially saved millions of dollars

 

There are various challenges to execute on an OTA strategy: development of these patches, distributing them to dealerships, making them secure, and finally delivering/updating them successfully without errors on a global scale at a moment’s notice. OTA updates need not be just limited in scope to vehicle recall issues due to software glitches either. A broad OTA strategy can enable the automobile manufacturer to expedite updates, patch intrusion or security risks, and enhance the user experience. OTA software updates for automobiles should not be an afterthought, but a well-defined workflow to optimize the whole process and make it seamless: for automobile manufacturers to transparently provide the update, and to the customers to seamlessly update their vehicles wherever they are.

 

See how Limelight helps companies deliver millions of software updates globally: both wired and over the air.

We would love to hear from you and continue the conversation on Limelight Connect. Keep the conversation going on Twitter with @LLNW and @_AllThingsMe.

This blog is the first in a four part series describing the use cases and business benefits of the Media and Broadcasting Solution phases. Focused on ingesting video content into the CDN, subsequent blogs will cover video format conversion, delivery, and playback.

 

Great online video starts with ingestion of content into a production workflow. There are inherent challenges with managing video content including global disparate ingest locations, the large size of video files, and potential slow ingestion and latency to deal with. With Limelight’s global ingest points, we provide an optimum way to upload live and on demand content wherever you are. Cloud-based storage integrated directly with our CDN edges automatically replicates your content in at least three locations without having to upload multiple copies. There are many formats your video content can take, and the Media and Broadcasters solution offers a rich choice of ingest options for getting content into the CDN. The solution offers both Live and On-demand workflows with multiple bit rate outputs for HLS, HDS, MSS, DASH, HTTP, and RTMP.

 

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So, how do you decide which method is best for ingesting your video into the CDN? Let’s look at several scenarios.

 

FTP Upload

 

Using an FTP (File Transfer Protocol) upload is a good choice for the following:

  • Performing initial migration of content to the CDN
  • Batch uploads of media files, used on a regular basis
  • Uploading large media files (those >1 GB)
  • Upload of media asset metadata

FTP-SSL is also supported for secure uploads.

 

Aspera Upload

 

Like FTP, media files and associated metadata can be uploaded via Aspera’s transport technology. Aspera provides a secure, high-throughput connection that works well in unreliable Internet conditions. Use Aspera over FTP for uploads occurring over great distances in unreliable conditions or for secure uploads. Note that a separate license from Aspera is required.

 

Secure Transfer

 

Uploading options are:

  • SCP (Secure Copy protocol)
  • SFTP (Secure File Transfer Protocol)
  • RSYNC (Remote Sync)

SCP and SFTP are file transfer protocols between hosts on a network, and both provide secure file transfer capabilities. Compared to the SCP protocol, which only does file transfers, SFTP can also resume interrupted transfers and remote file removal.  SCP is most frequently implemented on Unix platforms, while SFTP is common on most platforms. RSYNC is a widely-used utility found on Unix systems that keeps copies of a file the same on two systems by synchronizing files between systems. It is designed to minimize network usage by transferring deltas between the copies.

 

API Upload

 

The final option is an API upload if you build your own workflow to programmatically upload files and metadata.  Common use cases include:

  • Automatically syncing with an existing CMS or asset management system
  • Uploading media and applying metadata at the same time
  • For an automated ingestion workflow

 

Leveraging Limelight’s Media and Broadcasters Solution delivers many business benefits for the ingest phase:

  • Global ingest points means faster uploads – so you have rapid time to publish
  • Automatic file replication to at least three locations reduces the challenges of capacity planning and saves CapEx storage costs
  • Flexibility in ingest formats and methods – you can pre-populate to cloud storage, or load on cache miss (on demand load)

 

This broad set of options combined with Limelight’s strong support staff to assist in designing an optimized video solution for your organization, assures success in having the ideal video ingest strategy.

 

More details about the Limelight Orchestrate for Media and Broadcasters are available here.       

OWNZONES provides consumers across the globe a “digital content marketplace” – where they have complete control over their digital media experience. They’re helping to change the way over-the-top (OTT) content is offered on the internet. By providing ad-free content to a global audience, OWNZONES features a clean, non-intrusive, uninterrupted digital media experience. Consumers can access videos and articles on their own terms; on the devices of their choosing and with zero interruption from ads.

 

“All the work of figuring out the streaming optimization and transcoding for multiple formats was taken off our plates simply by working with Limelight. That’s pretty valuable. The ease of integration was also very helpful. We got the initial integration done in about 2-3 weeks.”

-        Dan Goman, CEO of OWNZONES

 

A copy of the press release can be found here and a detailed case study is available here.

Today we announced significant enhancements to our Limelight Orchestrate Media and Broadcasters Solution at the IBC show in Amsterdam.  Our integrated workflow solution empowers broadcasters and media content owners to deliver broadcast quality video to online audiences around the world. This cloud-based, integrated end-to-end workflow solution makes it easy for organizations to manage, publish, and deliver live and on-demand video content. New features enable better control of cached content, improve performance of long-tail content, convert live content automatically to popular mobile formats, and ensure up time and availability of video delivery websites.

Read the press release here.

Video is already dominating the Internet during prime time viewing, and poised to make up 90% of Internet traffic that is consumer video by 2019, as Cisco has widely reported. Drivers include TV broadcasters, a growing number of OTT services, video sharing sites, corporate marketing, and numerous live broadcasting apps for smartphones. Viewer expectations are well known – broadcast quality on any screen, anywhere, anytime. Content owners have no option but to deliver a video viewing experience that meets these expectations. They need a unified solution architected for delivering video in today’s Internet traffic reality.

 

Today, Limelight Networks announced significant enhancements that simplify the delivery of video content with the Limelight OrchestrateTM Solution for Media and Broadcasters: the next step in optimizing cloud-based workflow by further simplifying the storage, delivery, and management of video content. New features enable better control of cached content. Convert live video automatically to popular mobile formats, and ensure uptime and availability of video delivery websites.

                                    New M&B workflow.jpg

      

Orchestrate for media and Broadcasters integrates pieces of a traditional workflow deploying cloud components connected across the private, global Limelight network.  Combining the power of Limelight Orchestrate Content Delivery, Orchestrate Cloud Storage, and Orchestrate Video, the solution now includes these key functionalities:

  • SmartPurge - Real-time purge makes content inaccessible globally even as it is being deleted from caches, accurately purging unwanted content from the global CDN within seconds.
  • Multi-Device Media Delivery (MMD) Live - Stream live media to multiple device platforms simultaneously. Limelight automatically transcodes or transmuxes digital content depending on the requesting device.
  • MediaMover - Regardless of library or file size, easily and efficiently migrate origin content to Limelight’s cloud storage. By storing popular assets in Orchestrate storage, media and broadcaster organizations can protect their origin from request spikes and improve the performance on cache miss through CDN-accelerated retrieval from cloud storage. Available later in 2015.
  • DDoS Attack Interceptor - Detects and mitigates network and application layer DDoS attacks.
  • Automatic Transcoding - Ensures live content is mobile-ready and viewable when, where and how viewers want it. MPEG-DASH is now supported along with all popular formats.

 

More details about the Limelight Orchestrate for Media and Broadcasters are available here.       

Related Resources:

  • Press release :Limelight Announces Significant Enhancements to Award-winning Solution for Media and Broadcasters.
  • Data sheet :Limelight Orchestrate for Media and Broadcasters
  • White paper :Delivering to the Broadcast Quality Generation
  • Online community :Find your peers and broadcast experts at Limelight Connect

You’ve may have heard of some or all of these live streaming apps including Periscope, Meerkat, Facebook Live, Muvi Studio, NomadCast and  Sywork. Maybe you are already using one these. There’s no doubt they are popular – Periscope gained a million users in the first ten days after its iPhone launch, and many more after its release on Android. Twitter acquired Periscope, and now users can tweet links to live-streams. All these apps are not the same, so let’s take a look at what they do and how they differ from each other:

 

  • Meerkat – Available for iOS and Android, broadcasts to followers. Videos are deleted immediately after broadcast.
  • Periscope – Available for iOS and Android, broadcasts to followers. Videos live for 24 hours before deletion, though you can save them to your camera roll.
  • Facebook Live – This app got off to a controversial start - at the moment it’s for celebrities only – yes, that’s right! It broadcasts to a celebrity’s followers with watch comments overlaid on the stream. The streams reach viewers while in progress and pushes alerts to subscribers who’ve recently interacted with the page. Videos are not deleted.
  • Muvi Studio – Clever name, huh? Muvi is a 3rd party provider for corporate clients and broadcasters by offering a cloud infrastructure for Live and On-demand services. Available for desktop, mobile apps, connected TV, and soon for the Roku player.
  • NomadCast  - Known as “Facebook live streaming for commoners” streams directly on Facebook and Twitter, providing playable video on Facebook walls and in Twitter feeds.
  • Sywork – This is a live streaming platform for illustrators and digital artists, allowing them to show off their work. Viewers can watch live illustrations.

                                               periscope.png           

 

So, who has been using these apps? They have attracted the attention of media and broadcasting companies as they offer a very low cost way to reach new audiences. CNN used Periscope during their coverage of the birth of Princess Charlotte, with a reporter touring London on the top deck of a bus, interviewing riders, and showing the sites. In the political arena, David Cameron used Periscope to broadcast his first post-election address from number 10. Musicians have also been using them. The Rolling Stones used Periscope to broadcast their “secret” show in Los Angeles in May this year. Local bands use them to broadcast to their followers.

 

                                                          rolling stones.jpg                                          

                      

What has become controversial is the use of these apps at live sports events. Sponsors of events fear losing live TV audience to viewing broadcasts from attendees at events. One of the most well-known instances of this was during a big pay-per-view boxing match, where ring side attendees broadcast the match. Responses from the various sports leagues have been mixed to date. Wimbledon banned audience members from broadcasting matches, as has the PGA and NHL, but not the NFL.

 

                                                        soccer.png

                                                                                              

In the view of many observers, these mobile device broadcasts shouldn’t be considered a threat to the mainstream professional broadcasts from TV networks. Would someone really watch an entire sporting event broadcast from a hand held phone, with jerky motion and accompanying background noise?

What is likely to happen is the networks will realize an opportunity here. Think of all the potential phone broadcasts at an NFL game from audience around a stadium. Those could be incorporated into the network’s broadcasts – picking the best clips from the live audience perspective. This would enhance what the home viewer sees, delivering a “just like they were there” experience.

What does the future hold? It’s so early in the technology cycle, with the expected evolution of these apps in terms of quality and functionality that it’s too difficult to predict. It is safe to assume a significant impact, and as broadcasters experiment with incorporating audience broadcast content, the viewing experience overall will improve.

 

No matter what the future holds, Limelight will ready to deliver your video at broadcast quality to a global audience. Limelight Networks combines the power and reach of one of the world’s largest private content delivery networks (CDN) with a purpose-built intelligent platform to deliver your video reliably and at broadcast quality, anywhere in the world. Learn more about our solutions for video delivery and Media and Broadcasters on the Limelight website, or reach me directly at ckraus@llnw.com .