More online video platform product news today, as Kyte is unveiling its Console 2.0 product. Last week, COO Gannon Hall gave me a rundown of the new features, which include enhanced work flows, playlist creation, channel and player management and show scheduling among others.
It's no news that OVPs are in an intense feature war, and it is increasingly important for each player to find points of differentiation. Three things that Kyte has focused on to separate itself from the pack are support for user generated content, mobile devices and social/video sharing. Gannon sees the UGC functionality as particularly important as Kyte is seeing customer demand growing for user engagement opportunities. Two customer examples he cited were ESPN's "Talk of the Terrace" live studio show in the U.K., which actively solicits user contributions (pictures, video and text), and McGraw-Hill's "Professor for a Day" initiative, which encourages students to upload a short video of themselves delivering a lecture on a subject of their choosing.
In these and other UGC examples, it's critical to be able to quickly moderate submissions and approve them for publishing. In the case of ESPN, Gannon noted that they had a multi-step approval process through compliance and copyright officers, which Kyte enabled. The proliferation of video capturing devices like smartphones and personal video cameras, plus the intense desire by brands to engage their audience, suggests that UGC support will become a more important OVP feature. As far as I'm aware, the only other OVP that has really emphasized UGC moderation is VMIX, a situation that is likely to change.
Mobile is another area where Kyte is trying to differentiate itself. Though its app frameworks for iPhone and Blackberry, and soon Nokia and Android, customers are able to quickly build apps for these mobile devices and then, using Kyte's Mobile Producer feature, can manage and publish video to their channels. Gannon said that for example, Fox News now routinely has field reporters capturing video with iPhones and then uploading it for audience viewing. Kyte was also involved in quickly turning around an iPhone app for last Friday's "Hope for Haiti" digital telethon.
I continue to believe that the world is getting more and more complicated for content producers. That's a theme that I've heard repeatedly at the NATPE conference in Las Vegas, where I am now. In the old days content people focused on producing great content, and then others worried about distribution and audience development. What's changing in the digital era is that content producers need to be just as focused on distribution in order to generate an ROI. In this respect OVPs are playing a more important role, providing the work flow, distribution and engagement functionality. Making all of this ever easier and more effective will continue to be a primary success factor for OVPs.
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