Sunday, June 28, 2009

Facebook Goes Live, Partners with Ustream on Live Video Social Streaming

In yet another integration of online video and social media platforms, the social networking giant Facebook has just announced that they are offering live streaming on Facebook pages through a partnership with Ustream, the leading live streaming platform. The new Facebook social widget called the Live Stream Box was first demonstrated during some recent Jonas Brothers concerts but was officially released this past week in both a free ad supported version or a premium white label version version powered by Ustream's Watershed available for $15,000 primarily geared toward artists and brands that can pay the "one-time development fee" and a subscription to Watershed's monthly $879 plan. See the Ustream on Facebook FAQs for more information.

With the merging of functionality between social network platforms Facebook is starting to look a lot like Twitter or Friendfeed incorporating real-time status updates and shared links, photos and videos. While real-time chat is a common feature in live streaming applications, it's though the size of the Facebook community that makes the Facebook/Ustream partnership significant. The 2009 US Presidential Inauguration was a seminal online event and important moment for Facebook Platform marking the beginning of a new era in social streaming. Working with CNN Facebook tested a new feature that let people share Facebook status updates and comments side by side with real-time streaming video on CNN's website garnering over a million status updates in two hours.

On the Facebook Developers blog Tom Whitnah explained, "We realized how powerful it was to see what your friends were saying, not just on Facebook, but right in context on Users posted over a million status updates during that two hour event. Since then, we have worked with several established websites and entrepreneurs to show real-time updates next to live broadcasts, including the NBA® All-Star Game and many of the sites covering the Oscars®, and we've seen many other sites integrate similar features themselves such as Nana10 in Israel which hosted live broadcasts and their own live conversations using Facebook Connect during the Israeli elections earlier this year."

The Jonas Brothers event also had huge numbers according to Ustream:
  • 1.5 million unique posts were made via Facebook Live Feed
  • 23K average posts per minute
  • More than 100K users joined the webcast after seeing their friend’s comment on Facebook
  • 974K total unique viewers watched the one hour webcast
  • Ustream reported the Jonas Brothers webcast on Facebook surpassed the largest live video event they have hosted for any music artist
  • Over 40,000 tweets were sent out about the event during the one hour webcast
The widget lets users who visit your Facebook site or application share activity and comments in real-time. Powered by Ustream, it works best when you are running a real-time event, like live streaming video for concerts, speeches, or webcasts, live Web chats, webinars, mass-multiplayer games, TV show or any video broadcast. The Live Stream Box is scalable, and according to Whitnah, it can handle millions of simultaneous viewers updating in real-time. He also said it's easy to install and takes just a minute to set up.

You can include a Live Stream Box anywhere on the Web, or within your Facebook Page, or a Facebook application. See the full instructions on the Facebook Developers Live Stream Box wiki page that walks you through the set up and adding Live Stream Box to your site or IFrame application.

In case you hadn't noticed, we're in the era of live social streaming and while the price tag is steep for a white-label version on the Live Stream Box it's clearly targeted at artists and brands like the Jonas Brothers who as Nicholas Carlson notes, "putting three dudes on a couch in front of a laptop doesn't cost a lot. Neither Facebook nor Ustream, which provided the video tech, sold any ads against the show, but there is good reason to expect they'll slap a pre-roll on the next Jonas chat."

Updated links and text: 6/28/09

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Veeple Extends Reach With Bitgravity

Interactive online video platform Veeple has announced a new partnership with Bitgravity in which Veeple will standardize its offering on BitGravity's global high-speed content delivery network. BitGravity in turn will be adopting Veeple's platform as one of their three standard partners, with the others being Brightcove and Fliqz. Veeple also announced a series of enhancements to its interactive service including player branding, syndication, contact information and an affiliate program.

"BitGravity's focus on fast, high-quality video delivery is of primary importance in working with them," said Scott Broomfield, co-founder and chief executive officer of Veeple. "BitGravity truly understands high performance video delivery, ensuring a fantastic online video experience for our customers," he continued.

I spoke with Scott yesterday about the announcement and he outlined the "need for speed" as the driving factor for partnering with Bitgravity. Both have stiff competition in the saturated online video platform and CDN space and much like the Qik/Brightcove announcement yesterday the Veeple/Bitgravity alliance is another example of the evolving value chain within the online video ecosystem. CDNs are turning into a commodity says Broomfield, they are looking for partnerships, content, players, analytics and, we'll more see combining and some attrition over time.

Broomfield highlighted the three drivers for moving to Bitgravity.
  1. High quality - delivery move from Amazon to Bitgravity who has a hub and spoke model which gives much quicker downloads. Marketers love high quality video and Vimeo and Fliqz uses Bitgravity. Bitgravity will use Veeple as one of three partners. Interactive component, simple business model, start at $99, way easier for sales
  2. High reliability - faster buffering
  3. Speed - the hub and spoke architecture, pushes video to spoke, reduces buffer times, video and interactive features, 7-10% bits coming down the wire, a good 40% better
Veeple's platform delivers interactivity with clickable objects within the video player and cites a 22% in-video click-through rate, over 10 times today's pre-roll statistics. Veeple believes we were at the beginning of a new era in online video, an era where the passive, lean-back viewing experience is transitioning to a more lean-in, engaging experience. The age of interactive, actionable video. Early customers have included Yale University, AmazingTechProducts. com, and Global Social Media Network

“Veeple is an excellent example of the type of service we envisioned supporting when we designed BitGravity’s CDN. Veeple’s focus on offering a simple customer experience for uploading, managing, hosting, and best of all, making online video actionable, were the deciding factors in our working with Veeple.” said Chris Turner, VP of Worldwide Sales at BitGravity.

About Veeple
Veeple is the leader in simple, Interactive Online Video (IOV) solutions for marketers looking to deepen customer engagement through online video. With Veeple’s solution absolutely no programming is required for interactivity, full content management for multiple clients, branded player video delivery and full clickable analytics. Veeple provides the necessary tools for successful online video campaigns. Veeple is a private company headquartered in Palo Alto, California. For additional information go to

Scott Broomfield Veeple / CEO 408-605-4231 (c) / 650-331-0785 (o)
Twitter: @veeple

About Bitgravity

BitGravity has built the first CDN for Interactive Broadcasting, which is optimized to deliver affordable, HD-quality video on demand, live broadcasts, and interactive applications for massive audiences on the Internet. BitGravity's patent-pending CDN is Tier 1, highly scalable, and delivers the performance that consumers want and expect, including streaming videos that play instantly, and live video with no buffering. The company is based in Burlingame, Calif and is privately funded. BitGravity was founded in early 2006 by technology pioneers Perry Wu and Barrett Lyon.

Public Relations:


6/26/09: Updated links and text

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Qik joins Brightcove Alliance Bringing Mobile UGC Publishing to the Masses

In a move that extends the capabilities and reach of two leading online video and mobile platforms, Brightcove and Qik have announced a new partnership that brings Qik, the popular live mobile broadcasting platform, into the fold of the Brightcove Alliance, a global ecosystem of more than 160 technology, distribution and solution providers who have intergrated with Brightcove's global online video platform. What that means is that Qik users who have a Brightcove account can now distribute their pre-recorded mobile video content within the Brightcove player and existing Brightcove customers can now have mobile video as a new source of UGC content.

In a guest post on the Brightcove blog, Qik Co-founder Bhaskar Roy said, "We're excited to announce our new partnership with Brightcove, the world's number one online video platform. Brightcove's on-demand platform lets its customers publish and distribute video across websites, social networks and video portals. Brightcove also provides monetization options for customers through integration with advertising servers and networks. With today's partnership announcement, Qik's mobile video capabilities can now be easily integrated into Brightcove's online video publishing and distribution workflow."

"Brightcove, meanwhile, can now offer its customers the ability to upload videos from more than 130 mobile phones, including models from AT&T, BlackBerry, Motorola, Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Sprint, and Verizon," noted Bill Greenwood on, "Currently, live mobile videos cannot be streamed through Brightcove, but that ability is expected to be added shortly, according to Roy."

This capability could open the floodgates for a new workflow for citizen journalism, as Andy Plesser pointed out, "This could be in important development in so called "citizen journalism," allowing users to upload directly from mobile devices to newspapers sites including The New York Times and the Washington Post, both which are powered by Brightcove."

To celebrate the launch of their partnership, a special offer of three months of free Qik integration with Brightcove is available to Brightcove customers (existing or new) when signing up for an annual account by July 15th. This is a savings of $450 per user, with the monthly license per user priced at $150. Send an email to for the trial.

Mobile video continues to rise and both Qik and Brightcove continue to expand into new markets and devices. Bill Greenwood added that, "Brightcove is also reaching out to Apple iPhone and iPod Touch users with the Brightcove iPhone Video Site package. Those interested in the offer can contact Brightcove Professional Services, which will create a site optimized for the iPhone and iPod Touch that contains either a user’s full Brightcove video library or only selected playlists."

Qik has supported live streaming on jailbroken iPhones since last year. Currently though no live streaming app is available through the iPhone App Store and that's not likely to change for some time due as David Chartier pointed out last year that, Qik iPhone client may violate AT&T's terms of service.

Still, the video capabilities of the new iPhone 3GS with a million devices sold in first week and an early alpha of Qik on now available on Android, Pete Wylie says we're seeing the mobile video explosion is gearing up. With the forecast that 90% of the traffic on the web will be online video by 2013 it's clear that there will be a lot more integration of mobile video, online video platforms and content delivery.


Monday, June 22, 2009

Video + SEO = Best Practices for Online Video Publishing

My friend Mark Robertson, publisher of ReelSEO, recently spoke at the first annual Liveclicker Video Commerce Summit and gave this presentation on search engine optimization to help educate the audience on best practices for publishing online video. While the presentation is focused toward upper level e-Commerce executives and thought leaders, as Mark says "the concepts and tactics apply across the board for publishing online video."

He titled the presentation, Video + SEO – Not Smoke and Mirrors, Just Best Practices for E-commerce Video Publishing, and explains in the slide set that there's a lot of hype around Video SEO and a general misunderstanding of what it actually is. Mark says, "Video SEO is the application of SEO best practices when publishing online video content to ensure maximum visibility across search engines and ultimately, your target audience."
There has been a shift in how people discover video and data shows a rise in videos discovered via search engines and a slight decrease of videos discovered on social video sharing sites. Videos dominate universal search and the key is "to create unique and valuable content, and to publish that content with best practices for SEO in mind, says Mark. "Nothing works as well for SEO as creating good, unique, and valuable content."

So, to increase user engagement with your content -- the best practice is a combination of Video + SEO.

View Mark's slides and visit ReelSEO to read the rest. They need ya ;-) Thanks!

About the Author - Mark R Robertson
Mark Robertson is the creator and Publisher of and has had extensive experience in online marketing, particularly in Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Mark is also the Director of Search for Freedom Communications and has worked with many newspaper and broadcast stations for optimization online content.

  1. SEO For Video – Collection of Tips & Techniques
  2. LiveClicker Video Commerce Summit June 1-2
  3. Creating Persuasive Interactive Video for E-Commerce
  4. Video SEO Tip – Using SWFObject 2.1 to Provide Alternative HTML Content (Part 1 of 2)
  5. Reel Success with Video Thumbails in Google Universal Search
  6. Tips for Avoiding Deceptive SEO
  7. How to use Google Video XML Sitemaps for Video SEO
  8. How To Get Your Videos Featured on YouTube
  9. Google MRSS & RSS2.0 for Video Sitemaps – Tips & Info
  10. Best Practices in Fair Use for Online Video

Sunday, June 21, 2009

How to Upload Your Video to Multiple Sharing Sites

Hosting your videos on a free, video sharing website such as YouTube,, Vimeo, Dailymotion or even on a social networking site such as Facebook has many advantages for reach, higher visibility on search engine results (SEO) and of course, the fact that's it's free all the content delivery costs are paid for by the sharing site. This option for video hosting is one of three that Jan Ozer recently wrote about in his indepth article, Choosing an Online Video Platform. He referred to free video sharing sites as UGC sites and pointed out several pros and cons saying, "These UGC sites relieve you of the encoding and player-creation chores and assume the task of hosting and distributing the video for you. You can still embed the video on your own website, but by offering your video on a UGC site, you also expand the number of potential viewers, which can help from a marketing perspective. However, there are some negatives to consider, as well as some benefits..." (more)

For those interested in the "hyper-syndication" model of distributing your video to multiple video sharing sites there are a number of free and premium choices which are covered in two recent articles.

My friends at ReelSEO published this review, Upload Videos To Multiple Video-Sharing Sites - Tools & Software and highlighted the following services with short descriptions and pricing:
If you want to dig deeper you can also check out Best Tools To Upload Your Video To Multiple Video-Sharing Sites - Mini-Guide on MasterNewMedia with mini-reviews and a comparative table of 11 tools to automatically upload your clips to multiple video sharing sites.

Written by Robin Good, the guide used the following criteria to compare the services:

  • Distribution: Video-sharing sites where you can automatically upload your content
  • Analytics: Viewership information gathered from supported video-sharing sites
  • Upload: Publish to video-sharing sites accepting videos bigger than 300MB
  • Premium: Price and extra features of premium accounts for supported video-sharing sites
  • Migration: Export of your content from one video-sharing site to another site without download
Robin included this interactive map with links to all the services in the Mini-Guide. Full descriptions and comparative details on capabilities and cost are here.

The only service I use
to distribute my videos to multiple sharing sites is TubeMogul. You can read more about their new TubeMogul 2.0 capabilities which "democratizes video metrics" here. I haven't tried any of the other services but would be interested to hear from anyone who has.

A few other options that came up in the comments on these two articles worth checking out are:


Friday, June 19, 2009

Kaltura and Open Video Alliance Host First Ever Open Video Conference

The world’s first Open Video Conference kicked off in New York City on Friday and runs through the weekend bringing together 800 creators, entrepreneurs, technologists, policy-makers, hackers, academics to share their insights on the open video social movement and to promote free expression and innovation in online video. The conference is a production of Participatory Culture Foundation, Yale Internet Society Project, Kaltura, iCommons, and the Open Video Alliance. You can view the highlighted speakers and presenters, free and open source projects represented and the full schedule for the Open Video Conference.

According to the Open Video Alliance, "Open Video is a broad-based movement of video creators, technologists, academics, filmmakers, entrepreneurs, activists, remixers, and many others. When most folks think of “open,” they think of open source and open codecs. They’re right—but there’s much more to Open Video. Open Video is the growing movement for transparency, interoperability, and further decentralization in online video. These qualities provide more fertile ground for independent producers, bottom-up innovation, and greater protection for free speech online."

What started as a grassroots effort is being adopted at every level of the online video ecosystem by industry leaders such as Akamai (CDN), Mozilla (Software development and support for open formats), Wikipedia (open video content).

“We have received an amazing response on all fronts to this event. With sponsorship and participation from all the large players, an outstanding speaker lineup and over 800 registrants, this full blown industry conference is going to be a blast," said Shay David, co-founder and VP of Business and Community Development at Kaltura. “This revolutionary event will further bring to the top of everyone’s mind the concept of open video and the great value that openness brings to the industry.”

The Open Video Alliance believes that, "As internet video matures, we face a crossroads: will technology and public policy support a more participatory culture—one that encourages and enables free expression and broader cultural engagement? Or will online video become a glorified TV-on-demand service, a central part of a permissions-based culture? Web video holds tremendous potential, but limits on broadband, playback technology, and fair use threaten to undermine the ability of individuals to engage in dialogues in and around this new media ecosystem."

I was able to watch some of the Live Coverage and embedded the player below. On demand content from the last two days of the conference can be viewed.

Tim Siglin noted that there's a curious event going on at the New York University School this weekend in article Video Culture: The Potential Reshaping Of The Online Video Landscape and recounting a presentation by Ross Harley, Head of School of Media Arts, University of New South Wales (Sydney) titled "Open Circuits to Open Video: Can Video Artists Adopt Open Video Strategies as Their Own?" that traced the early days of open source and participation TV in the 1970s. He opened his talk with an interesting quote that Nam June Paik, an early video artist, "cassette will diversify the video culture from. . . . three networks, one-way communication to . . . mobile two-way video communication."

My background is in art and technology and I actually have several old VHS tapes of Nam June Paik and find that quote especially relevant today.

Read more about Open Video – What is Open Source Video all about? on ReelSEO. Also, stay tuned for an upcoming interview on this blog with Ron Yekutiel, Chairman, CEO & Co-founder of Kaltura.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Skype 4.1 Beta for Windows Adds Screen Sharing to its Conferencing Toolkit

Frequently the features available in software updates are not always equitable or timely across platforms, but Skype has followed up quickly with a beta version of Skype 4.1 for Windows adding screen sharing to its ubiquitous voice and video chat client, a feature that had only been available in version 2.8 beta for Mac. While Skype usually release new features for its Windows clients first, the screen sharing feature has been available to Mac users since January. But now you can share your whole screen, or just a portion of your screen with any other Skype user on Windows, Mac or Linux.

Screen sharing, or as it's also called remote desktop sharing, has been primarily an online collaboration tool available on many other conferencing solutions and is the basis for webinar or webconferencing applications. But now that Skype has incorporated it into both the Mac and PC versions it greatly increases the level of collaboration within its free peer-to-peer (P2P) conferencing  environment. 

My take -- it's very cool and I'm sure I'll be incorporating it into more of my Skype calls. Skype has evolved beyond its roots as a voice and video chat client into a versatile online collaboration platform. 

Skype 4.1 Beta for Windows highlights:
  • Screen Sharing: share your screen with other Skype users.
  • Send contacts: take contacts from your list and send them to other Skype users.
  • Import contacts: import contacts from external address books, including Gmail, Windows Live Hotmail, Yahoo!, AOL and LinkedIn.
  • Birthday reminders: you will receive an alert when it is the birthday of one of your Skype contacts (alert appears at midnight, local time; if you do not use Skype that day, you will not see the alert).
  • Skype browser toolbar improvements.
  • Enhanced call quality.
  • Several bugs have been fixed.
You can see the full release notes in the here (PDF link.)

Skype 4.1 Beta for Windows system requirements:
  • Windows 2000, XP or Vista
  • Internet connection
  • Speakers and microphone
  • At least 1Ghz processor, 256MB of RAM and a webcam for voice and video calls.
Download now — Skype 4.1 Beta for Windows

Also see:

Monday, June 15, 2009

Streaming Media East: Live Broadcasting Over Mobile and Wi-Fi Networks

This video from Streaming Media East is moderated by pioneer video blogger Steve Garfield who opens the session talking about how he attended Late Night with Jimmy Fallon the evening before and got backstage for an exclusive interview with Jimmy, which he broadcast live on the internet with his Nokia 95 phone using Qik, the popular live mobile broadcasting platform. Steve has delivered this presentation at several Streaming Media conferences and it's always a treat since it's a mix of discussion and live demonstration. Over the years Steve has been experimenting with audio and video tools to increase the quality by using high fidelity microphones with cell phones and laptops. Steve teaches New Media Tools for Journalism at the Boston University, College of Communication Department of Journalism and recently authored, Get Seen: Online Video Secrets to Building Your Business. He's joined by Qik co-founder Bhaskar Roy and Max Haot CEO and Founder of Livestream, which had been formerly known as Mogulus until they recently rebranded, who also demonstrate their live streaming applications. Qik recently announced that Nokia's Ovi Store launches with Qik and Qik comes pre-loaded on the new Nokia N97. Livestream recently released a free desktop broadcasting application called Procaster, which is designed for use with its service which is easy-to-use and offers high quality video and production value with the ability to mix live camera and screen sharing in both 2D and 3D.

Live Broadcasting Over Mobile and Wi-Fi Networks
Track B (B101) 10:30 AM - 11:30 AM

While big media tests the waters of mobile broadcasting, many web video producers are already out there doing it live from the street with cell phones. Others are joining in and experimenting with two-way broadcasts via streaming video over cell phone networks and via Wi-Fi. Viewers can chat while the broadcast is going on and affect—and sometimes even direct—the content being produced. Steve Garfield will talk with other pioneers in the live mobile broadcasting space about their experiences at the forefront of this new technology for sharing their stories over the web.

Steve Garfield, Mobile Video Journalist,
Bhaskar Roy, Co-Founder,
Max Haot, Founder, CEO, Mogulus (now Livestream)

For more on live mobile broadcasting applications check out Robin Good's Mobile Live Video Streaming: Best Tools To Broadcast Yourself From Your Mobile Phone.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Streaming Media East: Live Broadcasts and HD Video - Can Web Video Ever Scale to TV-Sized Audiences?

In this video from Streaming Media East, Dan Rayburn moderates a panel discussion on live broadcasting in HD which as he notes has come a long way in the past 13 years when he first got into the streaming media business co-founding a live webcasting company. The panel discusses the scalability of HD content and the comparison of Internet video to broadcast TV, which is a great segue from Paul Sagan, CEO of Akamai who believes that online video is at a "tipping point" where it can finally compete with traditional broadcast TV. Is it a fair comparison? Will online video replace the broadcast TV or will they complement each other? 

Live Broadcasts and HD Video: Can Web Video Ever Scale to TV-Sized Audiences?
(B203)   1:45 PM - 2:45 PM

Last year we saw a big uptick in the number of high-profile, large-scale live events on the web. Most weren’t offered in HD, and the debate still remains whether the internet is even capable of supporting live events with the kind of traffic seen from TV broadcasts. We’ll explore this discussion from all angles—technology, infrastructure, and quality—to get a feel for what the barriers are and when we can expect to see more large-scale live events delivered in HD.

Dan Rayburn, Executive Vice President,
Mark Taylor, VP, CMG Product and Strategy, Level 3
John Edwards, CEO, Move Networks
Joe Inzerillo, SVP,
Tony Fernandez, VP, Technology,