Gotuit, whose technology allows for indexing longer-form content into individual scenes based on their metadata, is today announcing "VideoMarker Pro." This gives content providers the choice of indexing their video themselves, rather than relying on a service relationship with Gotuit, as customers like SI, Major League Soccer, Fox Reality and others traditionally have.
As I wrote last November, I've been very bullish about broadband's ability to create searchable segments carved out of longer-form programming. A perfect example of this is what TheDailyShow.com has done, offering 19,000+ clips from all of the show's episodes. Searchable clips create a powerful new user experience leading to more video consumed. This in turn means more ad inventory which is also ripe for contextual targeting.
The big problem with creating searchable clips has been that without the proper tools it would be painfully time-consuming. Worse is that a large library would spawn thousands of clips that would need to be managed. While TheDailyShow.com took the plunge, others have been reluctant, thereby leaving a lot of highly monetizable longer-form video locked in its original state.
Enter VideoMarker Pro. Last week, Patrick Donovan, Gotuit's VP of Product Management, demonstrated for me how a show such as "Lost" would be indexed.
The starting point is for a producer to set up the show's "Attributes" or key descriptors, based on how users might be expected to search (e.g. by character, plot line, topic, funniest lines, etc.) for specific clips. Once done, the show plays in a side panel while the editor uses the tools to mark "Time-In" and "Time-Out" points, and to assign attributes to that scene. Once a scene is marked up, the editor clicks save and quickly moves on to the next one.
The whole process is dead-simple, enabling an intern or offshore partner to crank out clips quickly and accurately. Patrick estimates the whole indexing process takes 25-30% of real time (e.g. a typical 1 hour show running 44 minutes would take less than 15 minutes to index.) When you do the math, you realize it would be ridiculously cheap to index an entire season or even multiple seasons. (This is particularly relevant given the recent emphasis on offering classic TV content online - see yesterday's Warner Bros post as an example.)
There are multiple ways to present the index, using thumbnails, playlists and search. In fact VideoMarker Pro is actually creating "virtual" clips by sending an XML message to the CDN with instructions to play the video at its specified time points. This creates a lot of flexibility, especially for syndicating clips to partners. There's no clip inventory to manage, transfer and update.
VideoMarker Pro is another example of how the technologies sprouting up around broadband video allow content providers to extract ever-growing value from their original investments.
What do you think? Post a comment and let everyone know!
(Disclaimer - I have a very minor advisory role with Gotuit)
I was very happy to see news today of MTVN striking a big video syndication deal for its multiple networks' content with AOL Video.
Recently I praised Comedy Central's launch of TheDailyShow.com, but I took it to task for what appeared to be a destination-centric strategy, which was further supported by some executives' remarks. In this age of syndication, I thought that was a wrong-headed approach. Coupled with Viacom's misguided lawsuit against Google/YouTube, it felt like further evidence that MTVN was falling out of step with key broadband opportunities.
Today's news shows renewed hope that this may not be the case. I know these deals don't get done in a day, but I'd really like to see more syndication momentum from MTVN (and other content providers for that matter) to spread its content far and wide. Broadband Internet users don't expect to have to go to destination sites to get their favorite videos, they want them accessible where they already frequently visit. Hulu and CBS, to name two content providers that are solidly focused on syndication understand this, as do many others.
If you're sitting on a video archive and looking to monetize it more fully with an immersive broadband user experience, it's well worth checking out.
I have been very bullish on broadband's ability to create libraries of searchable segments carved out of longer-form programming. That's one of the reasons I was excited about Comedy Central's recent launch of TheDailyShow.com, which is packed with 19,000 clips from all of the show's episodes. However, Comedy Central 'fessed up that it took a team of 16 working double shifts over many months to create the site's clip library. This labor intensity shows that monetizing an archive has been a non-trivial pursuit.
And that's where Gotuit's solution comes in. Yesterday I got an update from Patrick Donovan, their VP of Marketing, about the XONtv deal.
First, to understand Gotuit (to which I am a minor advisor), the company has created an indexing work flow platform that allows entry-level staffers to quickly churn out clips using metadata guidelines developed by the specific content provider. Each segment has a title, a text description, a series of customizable preset attributes (or tags), thumbnails and time-code start/stop points.
One thing that's critical to understand is that Gotuit-powered clips are really "virtual clips." When a user accesses a clip, the Gotuit platform is making an XML call to the CDN to begin streaming from the original video file at the time-code starting point. So no new tangible clip asset has actually been created in the Gotuit workflow. That means that unlike TheDailyShow.com, which now has 19,000 new assets to manage (likely created using standard video editing software), with Gotuit, there are new no "assets", just files with metadata descriptors. Needless to say, this approach drastically simplifies ongoing management, especially for content providers with vast libraries. By following the metadata guidelines, playlists can be created which allow multiple entry points into each video segment.
XOXtv partnered with Gotuit as a service provider, shipping Gotuit 300+ hours of XONtv's video programming. Gotuit took about 1 1/2 weeks to crank out all the clips. At the XONtv site you'll see 13 "channels", each of which is then sub-divided into programs, "episodes" and the segments themselves. All content is in the clear right now, soon XONtv will be pursuing a subscription-based business model.
Other benefits of the Gotuit approach include no buffering, full-screen option, embedding, bandwidth detection and sequential play-out. All of this means a more immersive experience, driving more viewership and value. On the monetization side, Gotuit has integrated with a number of broadband ad management/servers, and obviously offers rich targeting against specific segments otherwise unavailable. Alternatively, as XONtv intends, paid models are also supported.
Gotuit can work as a service bureau for the content provider or license the platform and let the content provider use their own resources to index their video. (I happen to believe this would be a perfect off-shore project, with the right training). In either service bureau or license model Gouit charges an ongoing platform fee plus usage fees tied usually tied to video consumption. Beyond XONtv, Gotuit has announced deals with Fox Reality, SI.com, NHL.com and others.
The XONtv implementation is a great reminder of how broadband enables deeper user engagement, business model flexibility and re-use opportunities never before possible. Wrap a robust social/community-building suite around this and the value proposition for content providers becomes even stronger.