Category Archives: Media

Video in Content Strategy for Washington Post

Washington Post – Video in Content Marketing

The Washington Post was acquired in 2013 by Amazon’s Founder and Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos, at a time when the news industry had been seeing considerable decline in their revenues from print subscription. This trend is largely due to an increasing number of people getting their news from the internet. The key challenge for WaPo in the Jeff Bezos era ahead is to execute a content strategy that maximizes their digital presence. Part of their strategy is using video in content marketing efforts.

The Washington Post since 2013 has started to aims towards expanding readership and subscription to their digital content. This is expected to offset loss of revenues from declining print subscriptions and advertising revenues. At the moment they are experimenting with various content strategies. The target is to attract newer viewers from across the globe, while retaining the quality of their journalism that have seen their staff win 47 Pulitzer Prizes. A key aspect of surviving in the digital landscape is to maintain focus on video as a central tool for journalistic coverage. In this blog I explore how video is emerging as a key component of the Washington Post’s content strategy.

Video in Content Marketing Strategy

Currently, Washington Post’s mix of video content stands at 40% original content and 60% aggregated content. The company’s near term target is to flip this statistic to 65% of their own original content to 35% sourced from other agencies.

Video in Content Marketing - shift towards creating original content

Video in Content Marketing – shift towards creating original content

The company currently has 40 people on their video staff, of which 32 are regularly involved in shooting and producing content. To expand their video offering, the company posted 30 new jobs to their video department. The objective of their video strategy is two-fold:

  • To chalk out videos that are complementary to their content strategy
  • To create videos that gain prominence on social media channels.

To get a glimpse of how Washington Post is rolling out its video strategy, I checked out the page of their video section. The main video on the page was a video report of the Oroville dam spillway, which at the time was in the risk of a massive collapse. A visual report in such a scenario adds considerable more value to the message, unlike the case of press briefings for which value addition by video over text is much less important.

This current video strategy of Washington Post is to:

  1. Complement News Story – Roll out video content that complements the news story, increasing site engagement of visitors
  2. To gain new viewers – Video has the potential to engage newer viewers much more easily. Increasing the number of casual visitors directly leads to an increase in their potential subscription figures.
  3. Emerge as a Video destination – WaPo’s investment in video means that they no longer wish to be considered just a newspaper with a video section, but rather a video destination in their own right. Making video a central part of their content strategy requires that they leverage various forms of video delivery solutions – this includes social media and Over the Top video.

Leveraging different media – Facebook, YouTube and OTT

WaPo recognize that it is much easier to monetize videos that are on their own website. However, in order to attract new viewers they need to position themselves on social media, mainly Facebook, and video aggregator YouTube.

Facebook is emerging as an important player in the video segment. WaPo’s strategy for promoting video for Content Marketing for Facebook and YouTube is different, because of the different nature of the two technology platforms. Facebook users are much more passive, and are on that site for diverse and an unspecified range of content. For this reason content on Facebook has to be designed to be inherently able to appeal to new users, and to be inherently able to become viral. Besides content on Facebook should make minimal requirements on the viewer’s attention span. On the other hand users are on YouTube exclusively to watch video, which affords the company an opportunity to show longer videos that require greater attention span, and a greater engagement with their content.

Washington Post’s Over The Top (OTT) strategy is to promote themselves as a video destination on OTT services such as Apple TV, Roku and Fire TV. For OTT content the newspaper has hired video personalities, who will be producing longer and more scripted videos with studio quality production values.

Long Term Strategy at Washington Post – Jeff Bezos era

Jeff Bezos has a brought a long-term planning outlook at Washington Post. The desired result is to make WaPo bigger and more profitable, at the same time. Before his acquisition the newspaper had remained profitable amid declining subscriptions and revenue only by decreasing the size of their newsroom. Bezos has given the company considerable leeway to experiment with different strategies in the hope of coming up finally with a winning strategy, to emerge as a key destination in the digital landscape.

Preliminary metrics look promising. The Post beat New York Times in unique visitors in October 2015 – their 66.9 million unique visitors beating the 65.8 million for The Times. They also beat the popular content aggregator Buzzfeed in February 2016 in number of page views – their 890.1 million page views beating both the Times(721.3 million) and Buzzfeed (884 million). To monetize their content the company is offering discounted subscriptions to Amazon Prime subscribers. Their digital subscription membership is also considerably cheaper as compared to The New York Times, reflecting a strategy to gain a lot of subscribers at lower per person subscription prices, with volume making up for lower per unit price. This is just one of the many experiments that the company is carrying out at the moment.

References:

Jan Ozer, The Washington Post is focused on video. Here’s Why, Digital Content Next

Brian Stelter, Washington Post launches major expansion of video team, CNNMoney

Shan Wang, In Revamping its Video Strategy, The Washington Post steers clear of imitating TV, NiemanLab

Dan Kennedy, The Bezos Effect, Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy

Encrypted Video Streaming: VdoCipher & Others

The main encrypted video streaming protocols in use by most streaming providers are Apple’s HLS Encryption (HTTP Live Streaming) , HTTPS (HTTP Secure), Real Time Messaging Protocol (RTMP) and RTMP Encrypted (RTMPE). HLS encryption, with AES 128 bit encrypted streaming, in particular is widely used and marketed by companies as a completely secure streaming protocol. However, inspite of the existing security features, these streaming protocols are insufficient as complete encrypted streaming protocols themselves. This is because, from the perspective of protecting content from piracy, their security flaws lie in:

  • Partial encryption of streaming content
  • Open key exchange mechanism for decryption

The security vulnerabilities in these encrypted streaming protocols have led to design of tools that may be used to decrypt the encrypted video content, thereby allowing illegal and un-authorized downloads. These tools include IDM, Video Download Helpers, RTMPDump and many similar other tools used for pirating proprietary content.

Although widely used, these streaming protocols are not the only streaming protocols that can be used. VdoCipher uses a modified version of the existing streaming protocols to increase video security, and minimize bandwidth usage.

Here we explain how VdoCipher Encrypted Video Streaming works, and how our proprietary encrypted video streaming technology is hackproof. Complete workflow is mentioned below. Steps 5 and 6 of the video streaming workflow are the key differentiators.

Video Streaming Hosting VdoCipher

All these things, VdoCipher handles for you. Launch Today.

  1. Upload

    The video content is uploaded by the registered customer through Desktop, FTP, Drop Box, directly from server and direct from URL. VdoCipher supports all typical video formats.

  2. Transcoding for Protected Streaming

    At VdoCipher we have designed our own proprietary format that we convert videos in. It is in this format that the encrypted streaming takes place in. After user uploads the video the VdoCipher player converts content into encrypted format. The video is transcoded for optimization at multiple bitrates, so that viewers on networks of any quality can conveniently view videos.

  3. Storage of Encrypted Content

    The videos are stored securely on Amazon’s AWS S3 servers using our own server-side encryption technology, creating a double layer of protection.

  4. Encrypted Video Transfer – Differentiator

    Now the encrypted content has to be streamed to the final viewer interface , be it app or browser. Unlike many other streaming protocols, there are two key differences:

    Firstly, the entire stream (not partial) is encrypted using a non-public key whose exchange mechanism is hidden and is proprietary. Others like RTMP does it partially and not fully secure.

    Secondly, the transfer of this encrypted content is not through direct access to the video file. There is a one time URL that is generated and the content is transferred in different chunks to optimize streaming.

  5. Licensing & Authentication – Differentiator

    If the video has a direct video URL that can be shared, then the encrypted video streaming has completely ineffective security. This is because there can be multiple browser playback of the same video, and therefore the video can be easily downloaded. Our key service differentiator is that we have One Time generated video URLS. These URLs are accessed only through custom video embed codes, allowing licensing duration for each single video stream. This prevents any URL based sharing.

  6. Decryption & Playback – Differentiator

    Finally, the encrypted stream content is decrypted inside the player with a dynamic key. Our proprietary key transfer protocol is fundamentally different from the public key transfer protocol in cases of HLS, HTTPS and RTMPE Encrypted Streaming Protocols.

    A private key transfer between the website and our API signifies that it is not possible for hackers to decrypt our streams. The One Time encryption that we use is theoretically and practically hack-proof . We regularly update our authentication mechanism to keep the security features up to date.

    Video licensing and playback are combined to generate customizable viewer specific watermarks. Within the watermark offering, IP address, Email ID  and User ID can be shown as light transparent watermark, to identify a playback session by the viewer.

    Result – Progressive High Secure Video Streaming

    Through this 6-step Video Hosting, Encryption and Streaming process, VdoCipher is able to provide a progressive high security video streaming with future buffer possible. This is also different from RTMP which does not maintain any buffer and can be quite erratic as a result.  Also, once a part of a video is buffered it remains conserved, even when the viewer seeks back or forth. This ensures fastest loading times and minimal bandwidth usage for secure video streaming.

encrypted video streaming                          To try the product trusted by customers across 30+ nations secure video streaming, Add more revenues by eliminating video piracy, have a full free 5 GB trial at www.vdocipher.com

 

3 Offline Encoder For Video Conversion: MAC & Windows

There are a lot of instances where the raw video file after camera recording is quite large in size. If it is not on a server or url, it becomes quite difficult to upload it to online sites like VdoCipher.  To solve this problem there are offline encoder or converters or transcoders which convert the huge video files into decent size without any visible lose in quality. Some of these tools can also be used to convert files into different formats for video and audio. Here are the details of top 3 offline encoder

Offline Encoder & Converters For Reducing Video Size & Formats

  1.  WinFF for Windows

    Please visit this link to donwload the software
    http://winff.org/html_new/

    1-  Add the videos using the tool button.
    2- Choose MPEG-4 in the Convert-to.
    3- Select MPEG-4 1080p as the preset.
    4- Click on options to show more tabs.
    5- Go to video tab.
    6- Enter 2500 as the video bitrate (units is 2500kbps).  This is the bitrate we have experienced high enough to be HD, Users can also try with 1500 or 2000 kbps. It shall also work fine for most of the cases , specially if the movement in the video is quite less.
    7- Tick the checkbox 2 pass below it.
    8- Click on convert tool button.
    9- Wait for the video to complete.
    10- This process might consume high CPU.

  2. VLC Media Player for MAC & Windows

    It is quite unknown fact that even VLC media player can be used as an offline encoder to convert and change videos. Here are the steps –

    • Go to Media > Convert/Save >  In file tab add your raw video or audio file.
    • Click on the  “down arrow” mark on the Convert/Save button and Select “Convert”.
    • Now, provide the format in the “Profile” drop down, also provide the destination source.
    • Click on “Start”,  the conversion will start and after the completion, the converted file will be available in the destination source.

http://www.videolan.org/vlc/index.html

3. Prism Video Converter for Windows & Mac

http://www.nchsoftware.com/prism/

It is quite easy to use software to convert and resize videos. There is both a free and commercial version available. The UI is quite clean and it is almost drag and drop.

For online encoding , VdoCipher has also a customized detailed UI + API trans-coding setup for enterprises. All popular video formats (more then 15 ) are supported , video size, bitrates , type of encoding all can be specified. By default VdoCipher converts videos to its own proprietary encrypted format but for large enterprise cases it does custom transcoding as well.

 

Video Streaming Hosting VdoCipher

All these things, VdoCipher handles for you. Launch Today.

Offline Encoder Online Transcoder

VdoCipher Transcoding

Register for a full version 5 GB Free trial at www.vdocipher.com

10 popular video downloaders: VdoCipher stops all

Whole of internet is filled with people looking and asking for popular video downloaders , plugins &  tools  to grab and pirate videos from sites like youtube, vimeo, netflix, dailymotion, and many more education and media sites. Any normal video hosted is generally easily downloaded by these tools.  If you are a content owner looking to prevent piracy from these downloaders , try out VdoCipher. It is a sure shot way to save your self from all theses nuisances. We are giving below here a review of all the video downloaders and some of their key points.

List of 10 Common Video Downloaders

  1. Video Download Helper

    It is a plugin on firefox and technically the most advanced one. We have seen it to be able to download most of the content on web (HLS, HTML5, MP4 streaming) . A uniqueness about this downloader is the frequency with which it is updated to keep hacking into any slight changes in common video streaming systems. Seems, a large community is behind this plugin trying best possible means to grab streaming video content.

  2.  Internet Download Manager (IDM)

    Another popular software to be installed on computer. Uniqueness is its beautiful UI to manage , pause, continue & categorize downloads. Also, it seems to provide the highest speed for downloads.

  3.  RTMP Dump

    A downloader (installable version) to download videos streamed through RTMP protocol, other wise not an easy to download protocol.

  4.  KeepViD

    A site which asks for the video url and detects and downloads video file on its own.

  5. Savevid

    Similar to Keepvid

  6.  ssyoutube

    A site specially made to download youtube videos.

  7.  Audials

    A software with high end technology. Like download helper, the detection of any video streaming technology and is grabbing is quite easy and advanced here. It can crack through some moderate level hacks implemented.

  8.  9. 10. VIDEO DOWNLOAD CAPTURE , CLIPGRAB, VIDEO GRABBER

    The last 3 are again a set of commonly found video downloaders & software, which can download videos from many common sites.

How to Prevent website videos from being downloaded ?

All the above mentioned tools are based on detecting the video url, and fetching it from server to download content. What if, there is no url to the video file, even more if the content being streamed is not a video but an encrypted file ? We do exactly the same at VdoCipher and help increase revenues for our e-learning and media customers by preventing video piracy.

VdoCipher restricts video downloaders

Common downloaders, VdoCipher stops them all

Check out a free 5 GB full version free trial at www.vdocipher.com

Why Not to Host Your Own Videos? Challenges in Self-hosting videos

At VdoCipher we have worked with thousands of online businesses for their secure video hosting. In this period we have developed a broad understanding of the video hosting requirements that businesses have. A number of our customers had previously tried to self host video content. Here we share our learnings from working with our customers.

We see that in many cases, the first idea that comes to the video creator is to self host videos. This means having an in-house team to handle the video streaming & hosting technology. However, handling the video hosting on their own end is often not technically and economically feasible. A lot of businesses realize this only after spending valuable time and resources into developing an inefficient video hosting infrastructure. Many IT service companies that do not have video as a primary offering also come to this realization at some point.

Here we list the primary reasons as to why you should not self host videos.  Most of these recommendations apply to both high-budget and economy users, as both the service offerings and price points of premium online video platforms (OVPs) deliver better returns on investment than could be obtained from self-hosting videos.

5 Reasons Not to Self host Videos ,Why ?

  1. Server and CDN setup, Scaling, Automation for streaming

    When hosting videos on static web pages, each time the webpage loads the video is loaded as well. Handling 100s of users loading your video player each minute would require multiple cores of servers and Content Delivery Network implementation. The video hosting infrastructure should have the capacity to serve users at peak times, when there are maximum users on the page.
    It is a lot different doing these for static sites & video stuff. Handling multiple cores of servers, implementing CDN, ensuring it goes well during peaks and scales well, is a tough job. Here is an example to explain better.

    Consider a webpage that hosts a 5-minute video, getting 100 pageviews in a minute. These 100 users who came within a minute on the web page were in real time loading the page and requesting objects from server. These server requests were being generated at different milliseconds – there were never 100 simultaneous users, they had loaded the page at different milliseconds. While all the other page elements are loaded at different times within the one minute window, in the case of video every user is simultaneously fetching content. For a 5 minute video all the users will be fetching content at same millisecond level from servers, overloading the server hosting your website. This can therefore overload the server, and lead to your website crashing. For this reason optimization of hosting infrastructure requires that your video hosting and website hosting be on separate servers. Setting up a separate server for handling videos would again require a whole new server setup process, adding to your responsibilities considerably.

    VdoCipher offers cloud server video hosting, freeing you from server hosting requirements

    You wouldn’t want to spend all your time figuring out your hosting server now, would you?

  2. Protecting Videos from Download and Piracy

    If you choose to self host videos , you would most likely be providing a direct video video URL from your video hosting server to the site. This can make your video vulnerably to download from a lot of free downloaders and plugins such as IDM and Download Helper. These plugins are widely available on the web, which leads to loss of revenue from content owing to video piracy. Secure Online Video Platforms would safeguard your content from online video piracy.

    Use secure video hosting to protect content from being pirated

    Protect your videos from Jack Sparrows

  3. Encoding for multiple devices & Bitrates

    Currently the video codecs segment is highly fragmented. Apart from Chrome, which supports almost all the popularly used codecs (H.264, WebM, Ogg), none of the web browsers supports all the major codecs. For instance, Safari and Internet Explorer support only H.264 encoding and not WebM or Ogg, whereas Firefox, the next most popular browser after Chrome, does not support H.264 codecs. When self-hosting videos, you would need to transcode specifically in each of the codecs. Encoding is again a server + CPU intensive process. A different file is needed when viewing a video on a phone and when viewing the video on your PC or HD television. You would need to transcode videos for desktop, iOS and android separately. Also encoding is required for different bitrates, so that your viewers can watch your videos across all devices smoothly and seamlessly.Transcoding on cloud server for secure video hosting

  4. Video Player – Controls, Adaptive, Customization

    Video.js is a JavaScript and CSS library that is used as an HTML5 video player. Using the Video.js library requires a great level of coding. For this reason it is recommended that you opt for a secure online video platform (OVP) over coding from scratch. Apart from the initial setup, additional customizations required are adding desired colors, themes, bitrates, sizes and adaptation to aspect ratio. This customization is required to allow video playback across multiple devices and browsers.

  5. Costs of Large development team & Time to launch Video business

    If you are willing to setup your own video infrastructure in-house, it is important that you look at the bottomline of costs and time of development. This includes spending on the development team, at which point you would need to understand salary costs of developers. Besides, in-house development would take months to launch, in which period you would need to bring together a team for setting up the video infrastructure and understanding the hosting requirements. Besides the one-time setup costs, you would need a dedicated team to troubleshoot problems. VdoCipher online video platform has the necessary video infrastructure, and our support ensures that your videos faces minimal downtime. You can get started with using VdoCipher in just about 10 minutes, and can integrate your website with our hosting service in 3 days, with full support from our customer experience team. VdoCipher uses AWS & Akamai at backend to ensure great cloud availability.

Still not convinced? Shawn Hesketh at WP101 has written a comprehensive post on why you should never host your own videos.

For a full version free trial of most secure and reliable streaming solution, register at  www.vdocipher.com

Not Self Host videos , Video Streaming Hosting VdoCipher

All these things, VdoCipher handles for you. Launch Today.

Setting desired bitrate for video playback for multiple devices

Different devices and internet speeds require different bitrate to be served. Based on device type and your viewer connection, some of you may opt to provide particular bitrates forcefully.  Often you like to provide playback at the certain quality or constrain the network data. Bitrate, Dimensions ,Quality thus can be configured. Below are the steps.

First, Send in an extra parameter while setting up the otp. Append a post parameter called “forcedBitrate”. This need to be an integer. During load time, the player obtains the list of available resolutions from the server. If the forcedBitrate is set, it starts playing the bitrate which is closest to that one.

Example

If you have a video with bitrates created at [300, 900, 1500, 2100].  By default, the player will try to guess the correct bitrate based on a number of factors. If you believe that the default rate should be 900, set the value of forcedBitrate to 900. If the forcedBitrate is set to 1100, then player will calculate the bitrate closest to it and play it. This will ensure that the player will continue playing inspire of any error.

Here is a sample curl command for the otp call with forcedBitrate included:

curl 'http://api.vdocipher.com/v2/otp?video=xxxxxxxxxxxxxx' -H 'Content-Type: application/x-www-form-urlencoded' --data 'clientSecretKey=CLIENT_SECRET_KEY&forcedBitrate=1100'

Check the Api page under /otp for more info and other APIs.

Faster video upload to VdoCipher: AWS acceleration + Aspera

Now you can enjoy speedy video upload even of large size from your dashboard & APIs to VdoCipher dashboard. The speedy functionality works with all kinds of video upload- from desktop, ftp, url, server, dropbox. The speeds of video upload to VdoCipher servers now show improvements typically in the range of 50% to 500% for cross-country transfer of larger objects, but can go ever higher under certain conditions.

Technology behind faster uploads:

  1. AWS S3 accelerations – Amazon S3 Transfer Acceleration enables fast, easy, and secure transfers of files over long distances between your client and an S3 bucket. Transfer Acceleration takes advantage of Amazon CloudFront’s globally distributed edge locations. As the data arrives at an edge location, data is routed to Amazon S3 over an optimized network path. We are providing this feature at no extra costs to our customers. Automatically built in and integrated with VdoCipher workflow for free and paid accounts.
  2. Asperasoft – Aspera (an IBM company),  helps in receiving terabytes of file-based content per day, from providers at even global distances with simplicity, high speed and low cost – minimal  investment in hardware and Internet bandwidth and a single transfer stream per provider. It also eliminates costly re-sending of files when transfers failed with FTP, laborious monitoring, and network collapse caused by data blasters or parallel FTP streams. VdoCipher uses Aspera for some large enterprise media cases and the costs for it are quite affordable.

So, register for 5GB free trial at VdoCipher.com, upload, embed and enjoy most secure and smooth streaming solution for your online business.

 

 

Quickest Way to Start Your Video Selling Site

Are you looking to setup a website to market and sell your video content online? At VdoCipher we have worked extensively with businesses newly entering the video selling market. Most new entrants in the field are unsure about their video hosting requirements, and for this reason are unaware of the features and functionalities that they should prioritize. Also prices of many Online Video Platforms are hugely inflated, making startups reluctant to invest in video hosting because of the huge costs for their full feature set.

At VdoCipher we are committed to offering our full feature set to all customers, irrespective of their size. We offer customizable plans for early stage video content providers, so that they can try our services to their full satisfaction before committing with a bigger plan.

Setting up your video selling website requires multiple stages:

  • Setting up your tech platformWhat tech do you use? Code from PHP/Node.Js, CMS like WordPress and Joomla, or ready-made template sites.
  • Deciding and implementing a suitable theme
  • Evaluating the features and functionalities of your video selling site
  • Choosing and setting up an Online Video Platform

How to set up the Tech Platform for Your Video Selling Site?

When setting up a website for selling your videos online you need to evaluate your requirements in terms of features and functionalities. If you do not have highly specific requirements you can opt for hosting on WordPress. Adding plugins to your WordPress site is a great way to increase the features of your website. Making sites on WordPress is also quite straightforward, and the time to set up such a website would be somewhere in the range of 7-10 days. Do watch the video below, or check out this blog for a more detailed explanation on the tech platforms available for hosting your online video selling site.

Why You Need an Online Video Platform for Your Video Selling Site?

When faced with the exorbitant prices that many Online Video Platforms charge, you may have considered to self-host your videos. This is not a great idea, as you need to put in dedicated effort to add each one of the following features:

  • Security for your Video Content
  • Analytics to understand the viewership of your video content
  • Customization to video player
  • Multiple Bitrates and Encoding for Multi-screen Streaming
  • Setting up a Cloud Storage and Content Delivery Network (CDN)

Features for Video Hosting include secure video hosting, integration with website theme, player analytics, cloud storage and multi-bitrate encoding

Select Plugins and Themes for Your Video Selling WordPress Website

We’ll make a strong case for you to setup your video selling site on WordPress. These are quite easy to implement, and you can integrate a membership plugin with them to restrict content according to free and paying subscribers. For E-Learning website specifically we list the most useful E-Learning plugins. A detailed review of the WooCommerce Sensei LMS is given here.

Check out this LMS theme from ThemeForest. VideoPress is also another great theme for developing a video-based website. HostStreamSell is another WordPress plugin that integrates with WooCommerce for creating a streaming video marketplace. Beetube is another WordPress theme designed for video selling websites.

Setting up Payments

For payments, you have options from Paypal , Beanstream and Stripe. Various options are mentioned in this link. You can add WooCommerce or Shopify to smoothen the payment process for your WordPress website.

Using VdoCipher To Sell Your Videos Online

VdoCipher has a ready to use plugin for WordPress. It is compatible with all WordPress themes and plugins. Encryption, backend authentication and dynamic watermarking features make VdoCipher the most secure solution in the market. It allows multiple bitrate streaming on player. On daily basis, you can see the analytics. You can integrate VdoCipher WordPress plugin using shortcodes.