Why Pay-Per-View is the Past, Present, and Future

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Content distribution is accelerating its trend toward immersive online experiences. Still images are more immersive than text, moving images more immersive than still ones, and live moving images in real-time are the most immersive of all. Social media platforms are banking on live streaming to keep viewers coming back, and companies have their fingers crossed that it will be a rich source of advertising revenue.

With that in mind, live streamed PPV has moved from a way to catch movies and sports on TV to the wave of the future on the web. Live streamed concerts are attracting millions of PPV viewers, and many of those fans are following up by attending the same concert in person. The PPV model is one that is proven to work for world-class events, but soon, it could be one that works for your nephew’s high school graduation. The growing sense of urgency that feeds live streaming in general will extend to PPV.

Audio and visual quality coupled with the sense of emotional connectedness from a real time experience will outweigh viewers’ cost concerns. In fact, more intimate events may be the future of PPV. A college football game or basketball game has maybe 80 pay per viewers. But a high school game may have more than 300 viewers. Besides, PPV is not an all-or-nothing commitment: it’s one area where you are free to create a mix of live stream and on-demand.

It’s safe to say that people are more willing to pay for content today than they were a few years ago. A 2016 study by the Center for the Digital Future at USC Annenberg and Post Game revealed that 63% of sports fans (86% of Americans) would be keen to pay for an OTT subscription service, and 90% would pay something for quality sports content. Viewers’ main concern was an excellent experience, not the cost.

One live social video company, Hang, is experimenting with digital tickets. The producer (you) sets the price of admission, and those who want to view the product (your viewers) pay for the experience with coins purchased within the app. The jury is still out on who is willing to pay, how much, and for what. But early returns indicate that Hang is getting the hang (sorry) of the new wave of PPV.

Part of PPV is dictated by the purpose. If you’re a church service and your purpose is to communicate your message, you don’t want to create an obstacle by making somebody pay. If you have a different content that’s in demand, however, you can do PPV successfully. For PPV TV, that means the future looks a lot like the present. For live streaming on the Internet, however, the PPV trend may just be ramping up. All signs indicate that as Internet picture quality and speed improves, people are turning from their TVs to their laptops. And yes, they’re willing to pay for the experience:

  • The global VOD market is about US$16.3 billion in 2016. Accounting for 16% of the digital media market, VOD is significantly larger than digital music and on a similar level with ePublishing
  • The VOD market cumulatively amounts to US$9,529 million in 2016 with growth in PPV, video streaming, and video download all predicted to drop annually
  • Revenue in the “Pay-per-View (TVoD)” segment amounts to about $3.4  million in 2017 (Statista)
  • Most revenue is generated in the US followed by the UK, Germany, China, and Japan
  • By 2021, around 77 million people will be PPV (TVoD) users
  •  Revenue is expected to show an annual growth rate (CAGR 2017-2021) of 4.5 % resulting in a market volume of US$4,046m in 2021
  •  User penetration is at 5.8 % in 2017 and is expected to hit 7.2 % in 2021.
  •  The average revenue per user (ARPU) currently amounts to US$14.94
  •  From a global comparison perspective it is shown that most revenue is generated in the United States (US$1,915m in 2017)
  • In Europe, the PPV market is growing with an average of 5.7% per year
  • The video market globally is growing at a compound annual growth rate of 8.3% to 2021.
  • Unsurprisingly, the majority of 2016 users are under the age of 34. There are 29.6 million users aged 16 to 24 and 33.9 million users in the 25 to 34 age group
  • In that same 25 to 34 population, viewers can be segmented into different income levels with middle-income users making up nearly 50% of the audience in this age group

The biggest players, or organizations with millions of engaged fans, will always have pay-per-view in their plans since it guarantees revenues. And that’s because of their freedom to reach the audiences directly. The most successful broadcasters of live events are the ones who:

  • Raise interest and deliver top-notch content: The goal is to market content so that viewers are talking about it and spreading buzz. Using traditional communication channels while directing them at the PPV site where the revenue is made is something that the successful ones manage to do.
  • Take care for the full fan experience: At end of the day, the goal is to deliver all the what the fan would expect from a premium video package.
  • Make sure that their event has quality mobile coverage: Statistics show that mobile access of premium video is growing immensely. Over 40% of mobile views is the norm nowadays and broadcasters need to put special attention on this while their are planning.

PPV is no longer limited to boxing matches, old movies, and massive sports and entertainment events. Today, options have filtered down to a level as granular as a single individual with a Facebook account and a sense of humor. Anyone can set their own PPV rates and upload video content to their web site. Hosting services that provide low commision cash flow management are springing up. PPV hosting for little guys works on all devices, and hosts are beefing up security at all levels.

Top 3 IPTV Platforms for Service Providers

If you create and distribute video content, you might want to listen up. You may already know that in the last year alone, millions of households have become cord-cutters or cord-nevers, opting for internet-based services over traditional cable subscriptions. A majority of households either pay or are willing to pay a higher proportion of their budget for subscription streaming services over cable. OTT (over-the-top) services and IPTV (internet protocol television) are two of the most common alternatives. If you’re a content provider or publisher, a good content delivery system is a must as we move towards a newer, more mobile, subscription service based world. The best way to get set up with this kind of video distribution and capitalize on the OTT/IPTV model is to work with an established platform. A good OTT service will provide you with the shutterstock_165940991basics, but a great one comes with advanced features for uploading and managing your video content, and makes it easy to do so seamlessly. Here are the services that made the cut:

Brightcove

The OTT platform offered by Brightcove is built around growing viewership as well as revenue. In other words, user growth and monetization are central to the the Brightcove model. Their claim to fame is speed and ease, and they promise quick growth. The platform itself is feature-heavy, making it a great choice for larger organizations—it’s designed to support large content libraries. Notable features include hardware integration, batch uploads, and high end SSAI technology that minimizes buffering. This monetization-focused platform also offers up useful marketing tools. The downside of a feature-rich platform designed for large clients? $500 is reportedly on the lower-end of plans for Brightcove, which doesn’t list pricing on their site—potential clients must reach out to get a quote for the custom plans they offer.

Ooyala

Ooyala is a popular video hosting, video advertising, and media logistics platform which shares a lot of similarities with Brightcove in terms of their OTT services. They tout large-scale, global clients and offer up a robust user interface. Ooyala’s website lists strong video management and delivery, batch uploads, HTML5 video playback, an open API, and content recommendation and personalization as its standout features. The emphasis, however, is clearly on its strong analytics. It offers detailed analytics for video performance and audience engagement, page-level behavior analytics in-app or on the web, and even a heat map which highlights which parts of your video content increase audience engagement. Like Brightcove, pricing is entirely customized based on each client’s personal requirements and bandwith/storage usage, but is reported to have a similar starting price ($500).

Server Room

An all-rounder, Server Room is a video hosting, streaming, and internet radio platform which serves up OTT/IPTV services with global reach. Standout features are service and speed, which are fully managed and lightning fast, respectively. Its custom-built content delivery network brings your video content to any H.264 compatible set top box, mobile device, or internet platforms like ROKU or Amazon. Dedicated IPTV middleware allows you to create your own IPTV service or resell. With certain plans, you can also get a custom mobile app for iOS and Android.  All plans come with 24/7 support, making it the most user-friendly platform, ideal for organizations of any size.

Server Room has the most budget-friendly plan of any OTT platform listed, starting at $279 a month. Users of the Simple plan can get up to 20 channels at 100 viewers per channel and any bitrate. This plan, like the more professional plans, comes with 24×7 support, analytics and statistics, and offers dedicated hardware. The Enterprise plan comes with up to 250 channels at unlimited viewers per channel and premium features like geo-fencing, dedicated support, dedicated hardware, a dedicated account manager, and free app development. Customized plans are available in addition to base plans. With Server Room, what you see is what you get.

What You Need To Know About OTT/IPTV

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Time and time again, the numbers have proven that we are shifting into a a world that streams it all. Pretty soon, we might be streaming our meals. A majority of households either pay or are willing to pay a higher proportion of their budget for subscription streaming services over cable. OTT (over-the-top) services and IPTV (internet protocol television) are two of the most common alternatives to cable TV.

For the average viewer, there may not seem to be much of a difference between digital cable and IPTV. Both service providers can offer hundreds of different TV channels, HD programming, pay-per-view, video on demand, program guides, and more. The difference is in the delivery: IPTV is delivered to a TV, PC, or other device through a private network via the internet. A series of internet protocol packets encode video streams, which are then carried out through a broadband connection, allowing anyone with a connected router and subscription to the service to stream freely. In addition, instead of the traditional cable set-top box, the user usually requires no more than a flash-drive like device to get set up. ROKU and Amazon Fire TV are popular IPTV services.

In comparison, OTT (over-the-top) video services use the publicly accessible Internet to deliver video streams. Such content is not just available via set-top-boxes, but also via any devices that can access the Internet – such as phones, tablets and smart TVs with a broadband connection. OTT is television from third-party services like Netflix and YouTube, delivered over the open Internet.

Affordability, variety, mobility.

  • OTT STREAMING

    Pros:

    • Price: Monthly prices as lows as $5, with much free content on YouTube and Hulu.
    • Installation: All you need is a laptop or phone. (Having a streaming TV box like the Roku or Apple TV enhances the experience, though.)
    • Programming: Wide choice of providers, with Netflix and others now offering original programming similar to cable.

    Cons:

    • Quality: Subject to Internet speed, with “buffering” and other wait-times common for slow connections and peak-hour viewing.
    • Programming: While most shows can be found via major streaming services, some are cable-only and they generally don’t reach OTT streaming until the end of the season.
    • Data caps: Many ISPs now have limits on how much data you can consume, putting a limit on how much you can watch each month. (Yes, even with “unlimited” plans.)

IPTV

Pros:

  • Quality: High-quality video with fewer interruptions than OTT streaming due to privately managed content delivery network.
  • Programming: View-on-demand and get shows date of release.
  • Installation: requires no special installation aside from a set-top box, assuming you already have broadband Internet.

Cons:

  • Price: Sold as a subscription at comparable rates to cable TV.
  • Quality: Since it comes over the Internet, it can get slowed down during peak hours.

Top 7 Dedicated Server Hosts

Untitled designIf your website sees a good amount of traffic, chances are that you need a dedicated server. Imagine a very, very large computer dedicated to hosting in a protected room somewhere, with storage space for you and your site alone. This is what a dedicated server essentially is. And because this server is entirely yours, there’s no need to compete with other sites for speed, bandwith, or uptime. Unlike a Virtual Private Server (VPS), which is made for sharing one physical server with others on the same plan, all the resources available are yours. With shared servers, other sites can eat into the RAM and CPU of the host server, resulting in reduced loading speeds across the board. This is especially burdensome on resource-intensive sites which rely on these to function properly.

Dedicated servers are the most secure solution and the one that makes the most sense. Not only do you have the capacity to run at maximum performance, you also have the advantage of operating on powerful physical servers in secure data centers. Any kind of downtime can lead to loss of revenue and traffic to your website. Protected servers prevent disastrous downtime and provide round-the-clock monitoring and security. Your site, of course, has unique requirements that require custom solutions out of a dedicated server host. In general, though, you want to have sufficient storage, high performance hardware, customizable features, choice of operating system, advanced security, maximum uptime, and an expert support team. There are dozens of hosting solutions out there, but based on these factors, these are some of the best in the industry, in alphabetical order:

A2 Hosting

  • Good for: speed and variety
  • Starting at $99.59 for dedicated server for 8GB RAM, 500GB SSD drive
  • Easily customizable managed and unmanaged servers
  • Full control over high performance dedicated server
  • High speed
  • Variety of pre-installed software
  • Choice of location of web servers
  • On-going monitoring to ensure your site is always up and running
  • Developer-friendly: great for both businesses and developers with a wide range of configuration options

BlueHost

  • Good for: value, protection, and quality
  • Starting at $79.99/mo for 4GB RAM, 500GB SSD drive
  • Excellent quality: in-house maintenance of web server hardware requirements
  • Full control with cPanel/WHM included in its plans
  • Good value for Linux based operating systems
  • Easily expandable
  • Full support, even with unmanaged servers
  • RAID1 Level support: drives are completely mirrored, ensuring your data is extremely well protected

DreamHost

  • Good for: management and support
  • Starting at $149/mo for 4GB RAM, 1TB HDD drive
  • Reputation for quality service management
  • RAID1 SSD Storage
  • 100% uptime claim
  • DDos protection
  • Unlimited monthly transfer
  • 24/7 support + monitoring service

Host Gator

  • Good for: value and reliability
  • Starting at $119/mo for 8GB of RAM, 1 TB HDD drive
  • High marks for power and premium hardware
  • Plans for both Linux and Windows servers
  • Powerful, top quality databases
  • Great bang for your buck
  • One of the most popular hosts
  • Reliable hosting infrastructure
  • Intel XEON processors, RAID1 drives
  • cPanel or Plesk control panel
  • Suitable for organizations of any size

Inmotion

  • Good for: power and value
  • Starting at $99.99/mo for 4GB RAM, 500GB SSD drive
  • Reliable data centers on both coasts for premium protection
  • Easily configurable with a range of customization options, offer many unlimited features
  • Fewer restrictions than other servers
  • CentOS 6 based with dual or single processors
  • Suitable for medium to large organizations
  • Money back guarantee
  • Good value for price
  • DDoS protection

Liquidweb

  • Good for: variety, performance, and power
  • Starting at $199/mo for 32GB RAM, 1TB SSD drive
  • High ranking data centers, performance, and power – an all-rounder
  • Array of fully managed plans
  • High ranking
  • 100% uptime claim
  • Choice of operating system and custom configuration
  • SSD RAID 1 drives, single/dual/quad processors
  • Wide variety of features
  • Built their own data centers
  • Ideal for medium to large organizations
  • DDoS attack prevention
  • For most advanced operating systems, including Windows, Linux Ubuntu, CentOS and Debian

Primcast

  • Good for: value, reliability, performance, a little bit of everything!
  • Starting at $29.99/mo for quadcore 8G of RAM. 32G SSD drive, 100 TB of traffic on 1000 megabit port
  • Entry level dedicated servers with unshared 1gbps ports and SSD storage
  • One of the most affordable dedicated servers on the market
  • Intel XEON processors
  • 24/7 support
  • 99% uptime guarantee
  • Wide selection of operating systems
  • Fully managed
  • For any size business
  • Your choice of data center
  • Highly customizable
  • DDOS protected dedicated servers monitored 24/7
  • Same low monthly cost, with no setup fees, no surprise fees or price increases after your initial term

5 Powerful Video Trends of 2017

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Seems like 2016 was just yesterday, but before we’ve even had the chance to blink, July is upon us. And as the seasons move forward, so do the things we consume and how we like to consume them. Online, this of course includes video, and trends in video tend to move as fast as your Facebook feed does. So what have content creators been brewing up?

Everything is temporary

Live in the moment. Seize the day. These clichéd terms usually apply to those who read self-help books (good for them!), but who knew how explosive this very concept would be in video? Short-form videos have blown up the social media scene. First there were Snapchat stories, then there were Instagram stories, and then…you get it. But the influence of this spilled over into almost everywhere else we consume video. Attention spans are shorter in 2017, and capturing viewers’ attention within the first 15 seconds is a must. Moreover, shorter video content is more likely to be watched all the way through. Out of digital storytelling came digital short storytelling, and this concept seems to be thriving.

Life in 360°

360-degree videos offer us the ability to transport ourselves into parts unknown without ever leaving bed. Many of us have seen 360-capable video on Facebook or maybe even The New York Times. More platforms have added support for this trend than ever this year. Before you start imagining an Inception-like future, consider the benefits–global news and travel is more accessible and gaming and sports are more lifelike than ever. A case study by Magnifyre found that a 360-degree video got 28.1% more views than its non-360° counterpart. The number of viewers who watched the former all the way to the end also doubled. On top of all that, click-through rates for 360-degree videos are 4.51% higher. As we move further into 2017 and beyond, filming from every angle—literally every single angle—will continue to grow in popularity.

Futurisms

Speaking of 2017 and beyond, this year in video has been all about the future. And why wouldn’t it be, what with Elon Musk wanting to launch himself (and whoever else is rich and bored enough) to the moon? According to a study by VideoBlocks, more and more people are searching for video using keywords related to concepts of futurism and surrealism. Elements of space, time, and existential dread are often included. Interpret that how you will. As viewers look to the future, content creators and brands are drawing their attention in new and compelling ways.

Explain that again?

Explainer videos are exactly what they sound like. According to Wyzowl, 79% of consumers would rather watch a video to learn about a product than read text on a page. 91% of consumers in the same survey said that they have already used explainer videos at some point to learn about products or services. If you want to inform or educate your audience on what you have to offer and you have the budget to produce one, an explainer video is an effective way to, well, explain it, and this is one reason you’re seeing them everywhere this year. Many things fall under the umbrella of the explainer video, be it a product or a concept. BuzzFeed is known for using this concept in excess, but the success of those videos should speak for itself.

Make ‘em laugh

This is kind of an obvious one: funny content is shared now more than ever. While explainer video informs and educates, as viewers would expect them to do, funny video content incites positive reactions from people—you can even say they incite joy. And while the concept of a sense of humor has been around for as long as humans have, it isn’t exactly the first line of weaponry used in branded video content—until now. The single most successful video content publisher on Facebook is UNILAD, which is now infamous for its comical and at times, absurd videos. And then there was Vine, the wildly successful 10-second video platform which became an unexpected goldmine for branded content and content creators alike.

The takeaway here is that humor, when executed correctly, is an easy way to illicit a positive reaction, which is why so much of the content we see in 2017 is trying to make us laugh. And the more we experience those feelings of joy (or sheer confusion, or horror), the more likely we are to sit through something.

What We Can Learn From Twitch’s Success

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How did one streaming community pave the way for a generation of people who broadcast themselves playing video games and bring forward those who are willing to watch?

Twitch is a streaming platform and community for video gamers where users can watch or broadcast live gameplay. Players can live stream gameplay by recording footage from their PC, Mac, or consoles (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, or PlayStation 4). These broadcasts are usually accompanied by audio commentary and webcam footage of the player, which appears at the edge of the stream. Like with YouTube, every broadcaster gets a ‘channel’ page. On Twitch, these pages come with built-in chatrooms. Unlike YouTube, however, users have the ability to broadcast live gameplay for as long as they want—24/7, if they so wish.

As of February 2017, according to statistics published by DMR, Twitch has:

  • 100+ million monthly users
  • 7 million daily active users
  • 2+ million monthly broadcasters
  • 241 billion minutes of gaming content streamed
  • Average user watches 106 minutes of video per day.

So what is the secret?

Supply in abundance

Anything that can be bought or sold in a marketplace—online or otherwise—is at the mercy of the simple rule of supply and demand. Video games are obviously an entirely different category from the regular hodgepodge of VOD content. You wouldn’t watch somebody describing what they bought at Target for four hours. Providing a large volume of live content means having the kind of content people are willing to watch live. It helps when all that’s required for content creation is a video game, computer, and easily downloadable software.

Demand for variety

Luckily for Twitch users, there is almost an unlimited supply of video games out there to choose from. On top of that, there are also endless ways to interact with said content as a broadcaster. No one user can offer the same commentary or strategy of gameplay of another. And this is what viewers are really seeking: original content that gives them a reason to tune in, whether the player behind the stream provides funny commentary or tips on mastering a particularly difficult level of a game.

Content creators making paper

JaysonLove (ManVSGame) started streaming in 2010. In 2015, he was making a six figure income off of his Twitch streams, even as he focused more on his personal life and saw his viewership go down, averaging 3,000 to 5,000 viewers a day. This still seemed to be enough to make a very comfortable living. Twitch makes its money in a number of traditional ways: ad banners, video ads, and promotions. As it would be, promotions are almost always for certain video games.

Revenue from video ads is split with broadcasters. The interesting part is that Twitch users have the option of choosing how many video ads appear on their channel. In addition, fans can directly support streamers by subscribing or donating to them. Subscriptions are $4.99, and even if a user only gains a meager 2000 subscribers in a year, they’re still looking at close to $10,000. But, combined with general ad revenue, this method of direct monetization allows individual broadcasters to see significant profits—significant enough to not need a day job—without hundreds of thousands of followers. In comparison, YouTubers who have a million subscribers may still need to work the night shift at The Krusty Krab.

Endgame

Ultimately, Twitch’s surprising success is the result of a niche user base coming together to form a community. If you ask any Twitch user why they stream or tune in (or both), chances are they will tell you that it it’s all about the community built around their content. Community building and user engagement is Twitch’s shining glory and the bottom line for live streaming success.

The Most Effective Way to Monetize Videos

It’s been said many times before–video content is an asset to any organization for a multitude of reasons: higher volumes of website traffic, increase in user engagement, and the like, which makes it a smart investment in any good online strategy. But where does one see a return on that investment? Well, consider the fact that digital video ad revenue reached upwards of $5 billion last year alone. If content is king, monetization is the crown.  Monetizing your videos, when done right, is a lucrative way of bringing in revenue. But its effectiveness can vary depending on your videos and the model you choose for them. The most common monetization models are roll ads, micro-transactions, or subscription services. The end goal is ultimately the same: minimize costs, maximize revenue, and retain viewership.

  • Pre, mid, or post-roll

With roll ads, content is free and available to virtually an unlimited amount of users, so if you’re looking for maximum exposure, this is the way to go. Ads can be tailored to specific viewers based on location, interests, etc., and businesses will pay for access to this audience. But you must demonstrate that you can attract a sizeable audience in a meaningful way—the greater the reach and the higher the likeliness to retain viewership, the more video advertisers are willing to pay for a spot on your content. This is why this kind of ad support is an ideal option for larger-scale broadcasts. It is also perhaps the easiest monetization model to use with a service like VAST.

  • Pre-roll ads are displayed before the video plays and are the most common. Because users have to sit through to access whatever they came to watch, most people are willing to sit through. However, 73% of people take less than 30 seconds to lose interest in a video, so tread cautiously if you’re looking for audience retention.
  • Mid-roll is literally what it sounds like: appearing in the middle of video content. It is less common than its pre and post-roll siblings, but most likely to be viewed to completion (97%–twice as frequently as pre-roll) because the user has already “dedicated” themselves to watching. It’s the model most like traditional TV advertising, which a majority of viewers are already accustomed to.
  • Post-roll: Generally, you might show up for the previews before you watch a movie in theaters, but a lot of the time, people will start packing up before the credits even roll. Post-roll ads, which play after the video, are only watched to completion 45% of the time. Unlike pre-roll, you have no reason to stick around because you’re done watching. Advertisers are less likely to pay for post-roll.

Micro-transactions:

What is this? A transaction for ants? A micro-transaction in the world of video advertising is another way of saying pay-per-view. In most cases, this involves a paywall, so aim to broadcast on a platform that has a paywall option built in! This model is used by many platforms, big and small, from motivational seminars to movie rental services like such as the one offered by Google Play. Your video content is a “product”, which your audience pays a fee to buy. Even if this audience is modest in size, you can generate a large amount of revenue because PPV content generally brings more income with a smaller audience than other options, which makes it a better option for small to medium sized broadcasters. This is especially true if your content fits a particular niche and has a target audience that is willing to pay a premium price on premium content.

Micro-transactions have their own drawbacks. Viewers are only engaged short term with lesser incentive to commit. And because your content isn’t accessible to everyone, you have to invest time and/or money on advertising to attract viewers from the get-go. This poses a greater financial risk than other monetization models, but can be incredibly rewarding if you are confident in your content’s quality, user base, and marketing strategy.

Subscription services:

Many people already subscribe to subscription services, so it seems to work. Pretty well, in fact. Netflix’s DVD subscription service has turned into a multi-billion dollar streaming industry that bankrolls its own productions. Its success lies in the fact that it provides valuable content, long-term, for a long(ish)-term return on investment. The great thing about creating your own subscription service is that there are avariety of ways to do so. You can think of it as serving up a veritable content buffet, annually charging users to get through the door. You can also sell content as a bundle, in which users can pick and choose what kind of premium content they want to pay for access to. Subscriptions create repeat customers, which retains viewership, and it’s convenient for your audience because they know what they want and what they’re getting and they can pay for it all at once.

This model also generates overall greater revenue for content creators and is a steady form of income, granted you have a large enough viewership. But to see consistent growth, you must also create content consistently (the 3 C’s). You might also have to oversee or designate another to oversee customer management if your services are not automated, which can be a hassle. All in all, this is a safe bet if you want a predictable monetization model and have the audience to be able to sustain it.

Verdict:

For minimizing costs: Roll ads

For maximizing revenue: Micro-transactions

For retaining viewership: Subscription services

 

4 Tips on Better Video SEO

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Companies that use video enjoy 41% more web traffic than those that do not. The most efficient drivers of traffic to any given site are search engines. Even if you flunked out of Algebra II, it’s easy to do the math. If you want to find something, the first line of attack is usually Google, followed closely by asking your mom where you put that thing you need. A report by Brightcove found that video drives a 157% increase in organic traffic from search engines. It fits into the equation: reaching higher up on Google’s rankings is fifty times more likely with a video than with a web page. And since increasing traffic is one of the primary ways to promote and monetize your video content online, ensuring that it can be found on search engines is pretty darn important.

Major Key

Search engine optimization doesn’t happen in a vacuum, unless that vacuum happens to be a web bot which crawls and indexes websites. You need to “feed” these bots good information and strong, relevant keywords in order for your video to rank well. If you’re looking for a pair of jeans, what do you search for? If it’s for price and fit, you might look up “high rise jeans under $100” or, if you’re into it, “mom jeans”. Because who doesn’t want pants that go up to your chest, am I right, Jan? If it’s for utility and you’re a fisherman in Northern Oregon (because nothing else explains why one needs that many pockets), you might search for “cargo pants fishing”. Keep this search methodology in mind when inputting title, description, and meta keywords for your video or landing page. What are some common keywords used in your industry? How do they rank? The relevancy of the metadata you input has a direct impact on rankings.

The Host

Using a dedicated platform is almost as key to this whole operation as which keywords you use. Using a platform such as YouTube to host and embed your videos is the equivalent of giving away your content (and the rights to your content) for free. You want to drive video searches to your own domain. You can do so by using a platform which will create video sitemaps for you. Sitemaps are text files containing relevant data about your video content, which is more “food” for our friends like Google bot. By hosting your content on a platform designed to suit the needs of your brand or organization, you control every aspect of what a user gets when searching for videos like yours. You can create a unique landing page for your video without the clutter of advertising that YouTube and other free video hosting platforms come with, so that users remain in your domain for longer without all the added noise.

The First 48

According to Stone Ward, the first 48 hours after your video goes live are critical (similarly to solving homicides or declaring missing persons but perhaps without the added drama). The same paper found that engagement metrics such as views, searches, and shares create search virility. Video increases time spent on pages: not only does it drive traffic to your page, it’s more likely to keep it there. Perhaps this is an indicator of the times—not so much that we have shorter attention spans and have lost our ability to appreciate words, but that we have made great strides in using video as a medium for storytelling. Whichever you choose to believe, it has been proven that video engages more viewers for longer. Longer visits via highly engaging video content increase conversion rates, which positively impact search engine analytics.

I, Robot

While feeding our search engine overlords is critical to search engine optimization, you have to remember that people are part of the equation, as well. You may have the top rank for a given search term, but if the second highest rank has a catchier title and description, you can still be left in the dust. Be honest: would you rather click on something called “male bonobo exhibits territorial behavior” or “funny monkey throws poop”? Human beings are the ones behind the screen, after all—and they are the ones sharing content on social media for others to interact with, share, and like. Bots can’t do that.

The Fundamental Guide to Internet Radio Software

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The options for an internet radio solution are vast and varied, but there are few that cater to all your needs, which are as unique as you. So whether you are a beginner or seasoned radio veteran, on a Mac or a PC, an up and coming SoundCloud DJ or the next Ira Glass, there is software out there for you.

Making the right choice of broadcasting software can make or break a station. Ensure you have weighed up the pros and cons of each application and how you will utilise the functionality offered before committing. Research by visiting the product sales pages, forums and review sites. Choosing the first free broadcaster you come across and expecting it to do everything can be a bad move which can waste your time, money and patience.

From basic to all inclusive, these are some of the best.

MIXXX

This is an advanced, open-source DJing software used by beginners and pros alike. It works with everything from Windows and Mac to Linux and UBUNTU (if you’re into that). It can be used to take live calls as you broadcast, as it is compatible with Skype. It comes with input multiple microphones for guests. It’s ideal if you have lots of tracks and shows because it comes with an advanced library management system, as well as a built-in ID3 tag editor to update track information like titles, artists, and albums. When broadcasting with MIXXX your track’s details are displayed to the viewer through the player. It is also a neat little solution for mixing as you can beat sync with up to 4 decks.

MIXXX also includes special audio mixing features (as implicated in the name) such as:

  • Time stretch and vinyl emulation
  • Beat looping
  • Powerful master sync
  • Hotcues
  • Beat rolls and censor
  • Intuitive pitchbend
  • Broad format support
  • EQ and crossfader control

The best part? It’s included free with a host of Primcast radio solutions.

Nicecast

Nicecast is an easy to use live broadcasting software that works quite well with Mac systems. It can hijack audio from most media players available for Mac OS X including iTunes. It will also extract artist and track information then send it to your SHOUTcast server. It can also play audio from an external source be it USB or Line-In. Use it with Skype to do live talks with guests, or take advantage of the variety of audio effects it offers to play around with your tracks. What makes Nicecast stand out are features like control for privacy (password protect your stream) and a server checker to ensure that your stream is available to everyone, globally. It has an easy 3 step setup: select source, play audio, and start your broadcast.

BUTT

BUTT, which stands for “Broadcast Using This Tool, is great for 2 reasons. 1: It’s one of the most simplest software to setup and use. 2: It’s a multi-operating system broadcaster, meaning it works with Windows, Mac, and Linux systems, plus it’s free. BUTT works as a middleman, for example you can connect a microphone for your talk shows or use a media player like iTunes to play your music. Audio is encoded and pushed out to your station online. BUTT will broadcast any input source on your computer. Perfect if you have an external mixer or microphone. Butt cannot ‘hijack’ the audio stream of media player and broadcast the audio. It’s an ideal tool for beginners and experienced broadcasters that need something simple, so it’s definitely worth your time.

For beginners or those new to internet radio broadcasting – user friendly, can be up and running quickly for those who want to broadcast live without unnecessary complexities. BUTT is not the most aesthetically appealing—both in looks and in name—but has a simple user interface and is accessible.

Samcast

Samcast is one of the most popular and advanced pieces of broadcasting software. It is a professional radio DJ system that gives you the power and control to stream your unique live audio through SHOUTcast to listeners from all corners of the world. It offers simple broadcasting just like Winamp + DSP but also has powerful radio automation features. It is cloud radio that’s always online even if you aren’t. You can set high rotation playlist, schedule shows and handle external sources . Samcast also features statistic relays which records realtime listener information about your station. Its special features include:

  • Media management (easily manage multiple DJs)
  • Mixes (stream in multiple formats with external relays)
  • listener statistics
  • Free players and widgets for your website
  • Access to multiple mixing decks to control and synchronize your audio
  • Mix your show together with faders, EQ sliders, and improve your vocals with the FX voice feature to alter how you sound
  • Free trial

 

The Perfect Recipe for Viral Videos

 

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Truth be told, there is no single magic recipe for creating a viral video. But that doesn’t mean you should stop reading here—there are certain factors in place that make it much more likely for your content to gain popularity and be shared en-masse across platforms or, in other words, go viral. Video marries audio-visual content—the two best parts of digital media—into one likeable, shareable, tweetable package, which makes it the most likely to go viral. And with viral success comes publicity. Even the most unexpected or most average people (or animals, or things) can turn into viral stars overnight.

According to the Harvard Business Review, these are the two most powerful drivers of viral success:

Psychological response: how does the content make you feel? If it doesn’t evoke something in the viewer, regardless of that is, it’s not going to succeed. Funny videos obviously make viewers laugh. They spread joy. How else would you explain the popularity of videos like the “ain’t nobody got time for that” lady? Humorous video content is the most likely to go viral, with one Harris Poll survey finding that 55% of millennials and 40% of all survey respondents said laughter was the most important factor when sharing a viral video.

But there are clearly other emotions that viral videos can evoke which prompt viewers to like and share. Those can be sadness (“Most Shocking Second a Day”, in which we follow a young girl in London as if it were Syria), cuteness (otters holding hands, self-explanatory), or the “you have to see this” factor–which can mean something is just plain weird or crazy enough to spread like, well, crazy. Sad or shocking videos can garner just as many shares as funny ones, such as the unfortunate video of Arab men being kicked off a plane for speaking Arabic.

The point is to prompt an emotional response. Whether that’s positive or negative is up to you, but the more intense that emotional response is, the more likely your content is to be shared. Keep in mind, however, that the same study suggested that the complexities behind what people find funny enough to share are hard to quantify, as it obviously varies from person to person. It was implied that the most important ingredients in the viral recipe are quite simple: warmth (58%) and happiness (56%). Aww, right?

Social motivation was said to be the other most important aspect of video virality. Why would someone want to share your videos with others, giving you free advertising? What does it do for them? Unsurprisingly, this goes hand-in-hand with psychological response. Is your video content strong enough to make someone say, “this made me feel (emotion), and I want my social circles to see it and feel (emotion) too?” A survey by Unruly found that opinion-seeking was the strongest motivator for social sharing, followed by conversation starting. Social utility, self-expression, and shared passion were top contenders, as well.

As with anything, timing is an important factor to consider. This goes for the length of the video as well as the time of release. Engaging viewers in the first 30 seconds is crucial as attention spans are short and your audience has already significantly dropped off by then. Launch day and time also matters! Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays tend to see most engagement as people are checking their emails and feeds in the morning before their day starts, as they commute to school or work or back home, and/or as they unwind after the day. Keep in mind that the shares generated in the first two days after a video is released dictates its overall volume of shares.

Once you’ve taken these basic steps of “planting” your viral seeds, just wait and watch for growth. As for brands and organizations, some promotional videos do make it as viral videos, but these are few and far between. This requires a great deal of social media marketing, pop culture intel, creativity, and a good deal of research into how and why people share videos. And we hope this article has been useful to you in your ventures!