Brightcove Inspires a New Medium for Arts Education
Launched in 1998, Tate Online is the website for Tate’s four physical galleries that house the United Kingdom's national collection of British Art and International Modern and Contemporary Art. Tate Online helps visitors prepare and extend visits to the physical sites, but also acts as a destination in its own right.
In addition to providing information about the galleries and organization, Tate has developed structured and informal e-learning opportunities such as the award-winning Tate Kids website, hundreds of articles on art and digitally published copies of 68,000 Tate collection artworks.
For the past 10 years, Tate Online has used video as a tool to give visitors an interactive way to experience the arts. In 2007, Tate Online sought to expand the site’s video content and began producing video designed for online consumption. It took Tate Online’s staff an entire year to re-encode all of the site’s Real Player video files into Flash (using 600 original videocassettes) before replacing the Real Player with a Flash player on the site. Tate established an in-house production team and began creating new, shorter videos for the website, notably the video podcast TateShots. By 2008, the video library had grown to a stage where Tate Online could begin hosting its own video channel on the website.
Brightcove online video platform, May 2009.
- Faster publishing
- Increased views, around 4,000 a day (approaching one million total)
- Increased traffic to approximately 75,000 visits/month
- Increased dwell time from average of two minutes to four minutes
- Additional followers on Facebook and Twitter
Creative, Fast, Measurable
Greater Efficiency, Better Results
After reviewing a number of different online video platform options, Tate Online began using Brightcove in May 2009 to aggregate and host all its video content in a single place on the website. The “Tate Channel” has allowed easier access to the online video library, while increasing visibility of its online video initiatives.
As a visual arts organization, video is a key component to Tate’s communications strategy. The Tate Channel creates new opportunities to share its collections online and engage users through the voices of the artists and curators working with the organization.
Faster publishing through the Brightcove platform has allowed the in-house production team to create and post new videos more quickly and easily. The Tate Channel’s success is now easily measured through site analytics, available in the Brightcove platform, with detailed reports for single videos and the channel as a whole.
In November 2010, the Tate Channel was approaching 900,000 views. With an average of 4,000 views per day, the site is on track to reach one million views by the end of the year.
Brightcove analytics have not only shown an increase in website traffic and views, but dwell time, or time spent viewing videos, has also significantly increased. While the children’s section of the site has the longest dwell time due to games and other lengthy features, the Tate Channel now holds the second-longest time spent in an area on the website. On average, a user spends twice as long engaging with material on the Tate Channel than in other areas of the website.
With many additional metrics of success on the website, and various stakeholders invested in different areas, continuously attracting viewers and increasing the amount of time they spend engaging with the site is a great achievement for Tate.
Innovative Tools for Creative Communication
Tate Online has gone beyond traditional Web media, pioneering an experimental means of communication using the Brightcove platform to facilitate artistic expression and create new learning opportunities.
Capitalizing on Brightcove’s ease of use, fast publishing rate and customization, Tate Online created an interactive “video postcard” for gallery attendees to communicate directly with Ai Weiwei, a Chinese artist, designer and political activist, whose sculptural installation “Sunflower Seeds” is currently on display in Tate Modern’s iconic Turbine Hall as part of the annual Unilever Series.
Visitors to Ai Weiwei’s exhibit can use one of eight touch screen kiosks placed near the installation to create a video recording of a question or comment for Ai Weiwei that is moderated by Tate employees, then uploaded to Brightcove for Ai Weiwei to view. Ai Weiwei responds from his studio in China by recording his own video response and uploading the video to Brightcove via a laptop supplied by Tate Modern. These videos then automatically appear on a dedicated website.
This unique experiment in video messaging creates a new medium where video is not just for broadcasting content, but it’s used as a collaborative tool between audience and artist.
Making Tate Mobile
Tate Online will launch a redesign of its website in the spring of 2011, with a plan to use the application programming interfaces (APIs) and new features in Brightcove 5 to create a mobile version of the website later in the year. Once the mobile version is completed and active, Tate plans to revisit the video channel and create access to it via the iPad, iPhone and other mobile devices.
As a second phase, Tate wants to capitalize on Brightcove’s APIs and automate video links by tagging content.
At present, Tate Online has a complex tagging system in place within the Brightcove platform. Each artist has a different identification number within Tate’s collection management systems and the plan for the future is to use these identification numbers to create automated video links that provide easier, more direct access to the video content from across the whole website.
Tate’s video strategy is an important part of its mission to provide as many avenues as possible to allow more people to easily access and experience art.