Text 27 Jun Let’s talk about our platform.

In this post, we want to talk about our platform and how it’s different than the others—and better for you!

We believe in taking the hassle out of hosting online video and providing the highest quality service levels so you don’t even notice we are there. Here are a few highlights and advantages of our approach: -

Service level guarantees – we believe in backing up our words with formal agreements that give you the peace of mind that that your media centre and online videos will have the greatest uptime possible.

First years hosting included – Every video you make with us has its first years hosting included so you don’t have to worry about justifying extra costs internally

Instant navigation within videos - Try clicking the navigation bar within our videos, the response is instant! That’s because we have streaming servers rather than progressively download videos. We believe this is vital to making programme content accessible and easy-to-use.

Resilient and scalable servers – Our main two streaming servers are located in different leading UK data centres for resilience plus we use the power of Amazon Web Services cloud computing. This allows us to able to scale and burst up when under heavy load such as during programme launches and live events.

A firewall-friendly platform – One of the main obstacles to getting your programme watched by a professional and corporate audience can be firewall security. Our technical set up, online tools (such as System Checker) and our proactive approach all combine to ensure that viewing problems for your videos are minimised.

If you have any questions, you can zip over to our website www.multichanneltv.com, give us a ring, or message us here! We’d love to answer any questions you may have!

Text 26 Jun What is “intelligent video,” anyway?

In this post, we want to explain what we mean by our “intelligent video” technology. 

Intelligent video from Multichannel TV adds interaction to new or existing online videos and is a great way to ensure your viewer is engaged and your message understood.

It is ideally suited to: -

  • Sales and Business Development programmes that need to generate qualified leads
  • Training and CPD programmes that need to check viewers have understood the topic
  • Personalised role plays and business excellence training

Why do I need it?

How do you know that your viewers have not only heard your message, but that they’ve understood the key points? Did you know that research shows that the average amount of information retained from a traditional five minute video is 24%? We can’t judge the success of online video on viewing figures alone. Using Intelligent Video, you can not only track how many people are watching, but also build a personal experience for the viewer and profile them as the video plays, giving you invaluable MI and return on investment.

What are the elements?

  • Menus and choices – allow the viewer to choose their path through the video
  • Questions and polls – profile your viewers and generate market research and qualified sales leads
  • Feedback and quizzes - check your viewers have understood the content, validating learning and CPD
  • Red button call to action – allow the viewer to request more information/contact at any point
  • Weblinks and hotspots - allow clickable on-screen content to be linked with further information and competitions

So, just think: how could these factors improve your video? 

Text 20 Jun Want to work in London? Work with us!

Today we want to announce two internship openings that we have at our firm, Multichannel TV! 

We’re looking for an intern who can work in film production, motion graphics, & digital design, as well as an intern who wants to work in software development for mobile devices like the iPhone and iPad. 

As a current intern (social media) at Multichannel, I can tell you—it’s a great place to work!

We’re located right in Shoreditch, London. It’s a small work environment, but it’s fun & relaxed, while teamwork & quality work are still paramount. 

Take a look at our website listings for the details. 

http://www.multichanneltv.com/company/work-with-us#software

And, if you’re interested, shoot us an email, give us a call, or message us here, on twitter (@Multichanneltv) or on facebook! 

We hope to hear from you :)

Text 15 Jun Embracing the Cloud

Cloud services have been around for a fair while now, in various forms and from a multitude of providers. As a platform, it has now matured to be a very stable, established environment in which to store, process and serve data in a massively more efficient way than previous methods.  Much of the web is supported by a backbone of this largely transparent service, including Google searches and applications, YouTube video, Facebook photos and many more. Here at MultichannelTV, we leverage a particularly large Cloud provider to support our vastly growing archives of videos, in addition to much of our less dynamic (but otherwise essential) content. But why do we use it? And, more importantly, how does it work?

We’ll tackle that last question first, and explain what the “Cloud” actually is. The answer to that is surprisingly simple, and frustratingly vague;

The Cloud comprises of thousands of computers which are all controlled by various software packages all tailored to manipulate the computers in very specific ways.

As that’s about as clear as mud, let’s look at one usage for the Cloud and show an example.  We’ll look at using it for storage, and look at how and why MultichannelTV leverages it. 

Web files (photos, videos, scripts, etc) are traditionally stored on a server.  Let us say that company “Foo Ltd” saves all of its web files to a server based in London.  For safety, this server probably has either a RAID configuration or an automated backup solution. This is expensive, and is still often limited to one data-centre.  What if there is a fire at the data-centre and all the servers were destroyed? This would negate the RAID set-up, and assuming automated backups were housed in the same facility, these would be redundant too.  At MultichannelTV we store our media content on Amazon Web Service’s (AWS) cloud platform, a platform called “Simple Storage Service”, or “S3”.  This platform ensures our data is deployed across multiple machines in multiple facilities, in a high-reliability, cost-efficient way – this is apart from having our own physical backups located locally on-site and off-site.  Using this platform not only ensures our data is physically secure, but it also opens up the use of other Cloud services, explained next.

Once again, let’s take a look at Foo Ltd. Foo saves its data to a web server based in London.  If someone in France wants to view the content, they have to download it via unseen hops from their rooftop terraced apartment in Paris all the way to the data-centre in London.  This could take a few seconds longer than someone who is trying to view the content from just a mile away.  Take this even further, for users in Tokyo and New York.  The data travels thousands of miles through countless cables – all of which increase the time.  Secondly, what if 500 people try to access a large video file on the same server simultaneously?  Assuming the server hasn’t succumbed to time-outs, overloading and other errors resulting in complete failure, any more users will have to wait a long time for their content.  At MultichannelTV, we make use of AWS’s “CloudFront” platform to rid ourselves of this problem.

CloudFront is the core of a Content Delivery Network, or “CDN”.  You may have seen this in web addresses already, eg: http://cdn.example.com - this has become the de facto format in URI’s for CDN’s.  A content delivery network is comprised of clusters of servers all working together to serve data to any given user in the most efficient way possible.  This takes into account (among other things) network conditions, geography and file-specific information.  AWS CloudFront tightly linked to the S3 storage platform and consists of multiple machine clusters in strategically deployed locations (eg, London, Paris, Dublin, etc).  If a user in London requests a video from our S3 stored location in London, then the video is duplicated across machines in the London cluster and served to the user.  If a user in Paris requests the video, then the video is served from local clusters in Paris (who at some point in the past have retrieved the original file from the London based S3 facility).  This setup ensures that users across the globe can access the videos from servers which are geographically closer to them, thereby reducing latency and resulting in a better user-experience.  Also, as files are located on potentially thousands of servers, there is no problem if a traffic spike occurs.  For example, one of our clients received over 50,000 views on a video within a week with absolutely no down-time or lag.  Replicating that with traditional servers (implementing load balancing, mirroring, etc) would be comparatively hugely inefficient and incredibly expensive!

Here at MultichannelTV - to better serve our clients -  we now incorporate many Cloud based services into our offerings.  I have mentioned storage and CDN’s, but we also use it for email campaigns and notifications, processing data, encoding video into multiple formats, providing analytics and database-related tasks.

In essence, it provides us with a cost-effective, stable, scalable and exciting platform from which to serve our clients in a way which suits their needs best.

Video 14 Jun

Check out what our clients at BDA (British Dental Association) had to say about our work! They’re great to work with as well.

Text 14 Jun What do viewers want to see? (Part III)

This is the third and final post in our series of posted results of our viewer survey, to find out what viewers REALLY want out of your videos! Here we have the top three most important aspects of a good, effective video, according to those who watch it!

3.Allow the user to move easily and immediately to different points within the video. 91% of respondents expected that once the video started to play, it would play smoothly and be simple to navigate. They expected to be able to navigate instantly within it. They were prepared to wait for ‘up to 10 seconds’ as long as that was the only delay. 85% did not realise that for many online videos, they had to wait until the whole video had loaded in order to be able to navigate within it. 69% said it was a real benefit to have chapters alongside in order to immediately find and view the content that was relevant to them.

2.Ensure uninterrupted playback.64% of people give up watching within the first 30 seconds if they experience a stop-start connection. This rises to 82% within the first minute. 47% of people who gave up did NOT return to try again at a later time or date. Smooth, ‘freeze-free’ playback was seen as more important than higher video quality by 73% of respondents.

And, number one…

1.Keep it as short as possible and relevant to the topic being viewed.Respondents rated this as the top reason (91%) why they would return to the same site to watch more of the same style of content. However, the amount of time they would give up varied based on the relevance of the content. For sales and promotional content, the optimal time was ‘around 90 seconds.’ For case studies and real-life experiences, this rose to ‘around 5 minutes.’ For learning material, 70% of respondents preferred it to be ‘broken into segments/chapters of less than 10 minutes each.’ 85% of respondents said they would struggle to view programmes of more than 20 minutes length in one sitting.

How does your video stack up to these viewer expectations?

Text 13 Jun What do viewers want to see? (Part II)

This is our second post with the results of our viewer survey. Here are the next few items that they found to be the most important. Think about how your company or firm’s videos stack up to these standards!

7.Being part of an integrated campaign with a strong and simple call to action.9% of respondents stated that if they received a link via email from a trusted source, they would immediately watch the video. A further 13% said they would probably bookmark the link and watch it later. But, 44% said they would watch content if it was featured on a trusted website that they regularly got relevant information from—not necessarily video-based.

75% said that they watched content regularly because they had a specific personal interest in the subject matter or it was part of their continuing professional development programme.

82% said they appreciated the content to be as few clicks away as possible, whilst 62% wanted the video linked to further information or a call to action.

6.Allow the viewer to personalise the video experience.The majority (78%) of respondents felt personalisation was a good addition to online video. Some respondents commented that it worked well when it allowed the viewer to focus on the content more relevant to them. However, they felt it had to be simple to work effectively and not be too intrusive.

5.The ability for the viewer to interact with the video.98% agreed that using graphics, animations, photos and other forms of media during the video enhanced the message. Additionally, 73% said that they’d like the ability to interact with the video. However, the comments did suggest the interaction needed to be relevant to the programme and enhance the message, rather than just for the sake of novelty.

4. A clear communication of the benefits of watching the programme. For programmes lasting for more than 5 minutes, 81% of respondents said that they were more likely to watch the whole programme if there was clear communication at the outset (either within the marketing email, the webpage or the video itself) as to the content and benefit for them. 67% said that using a presenter and participants who were confident, clear in their message and enthusiastic about the topic was important to their viewing experience.

Text 12 Jun What do viewers want to see?

This is our first post in a series on tips and tricks on creating a successful video. We did a survey with viewers a while back, and from the results we compiled the top ten most important things to bear in mind. Today, we’ll talk about the bottom three. How does your video match up? 

10. The ability to give feedback before the video ends. 87% of those who left feedback would not wait for the end of the video to leave it. Also, 74% surveyed said they would appreciate some incentive to leave meaningful feedback. The consensus is that feedback should be 1) easy to leave and 2) anonymous if necessary. Polls and quizzes were seen as an interesting idea by 83% surveyed, as long as the results were given either during or at the end of the video

9.The facility for the viewer to watch it later and on other devices.66% of respondents thought it beneficial to have either a text transcript, audio or video alternative that could be downloaded. 43% had downloaded videos and watched them offline on their PC. 21% had downloaded or viewed video on a mobile device. However, only 11% do this regularly at present.

8. The ease of finding related content and information. Many respondents included comments stating they felt frustrated at having to search within videos to find content they knew existed, for example in situations where they had watched the video before. They also stated that they’d like to be able to link and share segments and chapters of the video with friends and colleagues. 85% said they felt it was harder to find relevant video content on the web rather than other types of web content (i.e. web pages, pdfs, etc.)

Want more? Look for some more insights tomorrow at this same space!

Text 7 Jun The big day: during the filming.

This is our last post on presentation tips, and it’s all about what to do during the actual filming—what’s possibly the most nerve-wracking part of it all!

First of all, make sure you give yourself enough time for the filming. It’s surprising how long things can take, and being under time pressure to get things right is a major cause of people fluffing or forgetting what they want to say.

Second, check that you’re sitting or standing with a good posture when presenting. Slouching will make your voice sound lifeless. Find a comfortable position that makes you feel fresh and alert, ready to present.

If you think you’ll feel more comfortable standing, please just let us know, if you’re working with us, and we’ll accommodate your preference. If you gesture in real life, do the same when speaking to the camera. If you don’t, you will not sound natural.

Third, don’t try to force in any gestures or rehearse specific hand movements. It’ll look staged and uncomfortable. Just go with what you’d do naturally.

Fourth, breathe as you would in normal speech. If you put pauses in strange places, you will gasp like a fish, and your presentation will be hard to follow. Take a full breath at a full stop and top-up at a comma. Follow any stress marks you’ve made on your script.

Fifth, avoid frowning. It makes you look miserable! Your presentation will come across much better if you manage to smile occasionally. A smile will also improve your voice. It may sound inappropriate to smile while giving a serious message, but imagining a smile at the back of your throat will lift your voice.

Sixth, be sure to slow down! Nervous and inexperienced speakers tend to talk way too fast. Consciously slow your speech down and add pauses for emphasis.

If your eyes flicker around during a presentation to camera, you look uncomfortable, nervous, and possibly even a bit guilty. Keep your eye-line focused on the camera, and then you come across as being in command of your subject.

Remember also that it’s unusual to get it all done in one take. Don’t feel bad if you need to redo anything—just take your time until you get it right!

Lastly, HAVE FUN! Sound impossible? With a little practice, you can inject your passion for a subject into your presentations.

Enthusiasm is contagious.

Text 6 Jun What to wear: preparing for filming

This is our fifth post in our series on presentation tips. This post’s about how to prepare before your big day at the studio to film your presentation. 

Avoid wearing fabrics with close-checked or herringbone patterns as on camera this will strobe and flicker. The same applies to closely-striped shirts in sharply contrasting colours.

Men should also avoid very dark suits, particularly in combination with white shirts which can drain colour from the face. Light pastel shirts are more flattering.

For women, go for the unfussy look if you are trying to appear smart and authoritative - bold patterned scarves and loud jewellery can detract attention from what you are actually saying. For jackets and suits, fairly neutral colours tend to work best.

Consider also wearing something light – the studio lights can become very warm and you will get quite hot if you’re wearing a lot of layers. 

For our next post, we’ll talk about, finally, what to do DURING the filming. Watch this space for that last post on presentation tips! 


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