This morning thePlatform is rolling out its latest Player Development Kit (PDK) which offers its media customers the option of turning on a series of video sharing/social media features for their users. Marty Roberts, thePlatform's VP of Marketing, gave me a demo last week. One of my key reactions is that interest in the PDK by thePlatform's customers shows how much media companies' executives' mindsets have evolved in a very short time.
With the player enhancements, users are able to embed video into ten of the most popular social networks: Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Digg, Reddit, Stumble Upon, Delicious, Windows Live, Yahoo! Buzz and Vodpod. All are pre-integrated by thePlatform so just a couple of clicks by the user places the video player, complete with its original branding, into these 3rd party sites. All of the advertising logic flows through to wherever the player is distributed, so ads run according to the same rules as they would on the destination site. All of the views are reported in the admin console, including detail on where the videos played.
An additional feature is the ability for users to clip a specific segment out of the underlying video and embed just that segment into these social networks. That means that users no longer have to say to their friends something like "check out the joke approximately 45 seconds into the attached 3 minute clip;" instead they can embed a new segment with just the joke itself. thePlatform has also handily integrated URL shortening, so embedding in Twitter is a snap. It also exposes hash tags in the meta data which are automatically added to the tweet.
Marty explained that thePlatform's customers, recognizing their users' interest in sharing clips, have pushed for these new social features. That's a pretty remarkable evolution in thinking by big media companies, which not that long ago were focused both on driving users only to their own destination sites for online viewing and also on bearing 100% of the promotional responsibility for doing so. By advocating for these new social/sharing features these companies are recognizing that online viewing should happen wherever users decide to hang out (this is the premise of the Syndicated Video Economy I've discussed many times) and that users themselves should be considered a critical ingredient in promoting content.
Gone too appears to be traditional concerns about the environment in which branded video would show up. I can't count how many times over the years I've heard content executives express worry about having their brands and programming end up in semi-pornographic or amateurish user-created sites. I asked Marty about this evolution in thinking and he said that even some of thePlatform's most conservative customers now seem to be over this perceived problem. Looks like Dylan was right, "The times, they are a-changin.'"
Separate, I recently conducted short interviews with a handful of industry executives who attended thePlatform's customer meeting in NYC, and I'm pleased to share them today. Browse below to see several minute-long Q&As with Bill Burke (Global Director, Online Video Products, AP), Ian Blaine (CEO, thePlatform), Channing Dawson (Senior Advisor, Scripps Networks), Kip Compton (GM, Video and Content Platforms, Cisco) and Stephen Baker (Chief Revenue Officer, RAMP). More interviews will be added in the days ahead, so please check back again.