Reality Bites: Brightcove Helps The Humane Society of the United States Bring Animal Rescue Stories From the Wild to the Web
The Humane Society of the United States is the nation’s largest and most effective animal protection organization—backed by 11 million Americans. Established in 1954, The Humane Society seeks a humane and sustainable world for all animals—a world that will also benefit people by battling against cruelty, exploitation and neglect. From pets to wildlife protection, the organization works to reduce suffering while creating meaningful social change for animals through changes in public policy, investigations of cruelty, education, disaster relief and rescue operations.
We used to do all of our own encoding and upload all our files manually for each platform. Now with Brightcove, we’re just putting up one file and it creates seven renditions, from HD all the way to YouTube and mobile. That’s been a tremendous time-saver for us.”
Senior Producer for The Humane Society of the United States
The Humane Society of the United States was an early adopter of online video technology, recognizing that its efforts are far more powerful when supporters and prospective donors can see footage of the organization assisting animals in need. Beginning in the mid-1990s, the organization launched its first online video initiative and has continued to grow its multimedia offerings as video technology has evolved. However, the organization’s many campaign programs each have their own dedicated website pages with corresponding video content. The Humane Society of the United States sought a way to increase video efficiency and manage content while simultaneously reaching a wider audience of potential supporters and funders.
Brightcove Video Cloud online video platform – January 1, 2011.
- Expanded audience reach with mobile and connected TV viewing capabilities
- Faster publishing rate for quicker turnaround on video uploads, often from remote areas
- Increased efficiency across multiple properties and platforms
- Easier delivery and management of YouTube content
- Increased fundraising security and opportunities
Efficient, Adaptable, Easy
More Efficient Content Management
With nearly 100 different campaign microsites organized within specific issue categories – such as animal cruelty and fighting, wildlife abuse, pet protection, animal rescue, etc. – The Humane Society of the United States must manage an extensive library of footage.
“We have such great footage and stories to tell that video is a natural fit,” said Chad Sisneros, senior director of video for The Humane Society of the United States. “When you actually see the footage of these animal stories, it’s very powerful. We want to make it as easy as possible for people to see our videos.”
Sisneros and his team have closely followed technology trends in mobile and tablet user experiences. The organization began to use the Brightcove platform to launch mobile and Connected TV capabilities for all of its video content in the beginning of 2011. The Humane Society of the United States’s videos are now available in high-definition (HD) on Apple TVs and through an HD feed on iTunes. The team is also looking into building a Roku channel in the near future.
“Brightcove is perfect for us because now we can deliver on any platform wherever our audience is,” said Frank Loftus, senior producer for The Humane Society of the United States. “We’re able to take the animal welfare movement mobile, so to speak.”
“We’ve seen such a huge surge in the last few years of people watching videos through their mobile devices,” Sisneros added. “Brightcove has just made it turn-key for us.”
Additionally, The Humane Society of the United States relies on a YouTube channel to generate awareness of its different campaigns with new audiences. Using the Brightcove YouTube Sync feature, the video team is able to more easily manage the distribution of its YouTube content and target new viewers more efficiently.
“We used to do all of our own encoding and upload all our files manually for each platform,” Loftus said. “Now with Brightcove, we’re just putting up one file and it creates seven renditions, from HD all the way to YouTube and mobile. That’s been a tremendous time-saver for us.”
Faster Uploading and Turnaround
Timing is an important factor for many of The Humane Society of the United States’ campaigns. Animal rescue and disaster relief efforts are often accomplished in a very short timeframe under stressful circumstances, making the footage dramatic and the operation expensive.
“Efficiency is critical,” Loftus said. “When you see footage and think ‘this is happening right now’ versus ‘this happened yesterday,’ it makes it much more urgent and important.”
In today’s news environment, media outlets are also paying attention to animal rescue operations. For example, The Humane Society of the United States’ video crew recently documented a seal slaughter from a remote area 30 miles off the east coast of Canada. The team was able to record the footage from a helicopter, edit it quickly on a computer then upload the footage to Brightcove via a wireless connection – all while continuing to fly around the area.
The “now” aspect of the footage is time-sensitive and can greatly affect the attention an issue is given by the public as well as the media. Once the video is posted, it can inspire volunteer sign-ups and donations to continue the efforts. The Brightcove platform allows The Humane Society of the United States to tailor the call-to-action at the end of each video and create a specific “ask” based on the viewer’s location. For example, while all viewers will see the same video content, a viewer in Canada may be directed to a local resource for volunteering or fundraising, while a viewer in the U.S. is directed elsewhere.
“We don’t just want you to watch the video; we want you to be impacted by the video,” Loftus said. “We want to enable your support and give you the power to take action.”
Improved Fundraising Security
Brightcove also provides The Humane Society of the United States with improved security for its donations option at the end of its videos. This aspect of the platform helps generate financial support for the organization and its efforts.
“In previous systems we’ve used, it was very difficult to embed video on a secure page that can take credit card information,” Sisneros said. “But, Brightcove makes that easy and much more secure.”
The videos are embedded directly on a security page of the website. At the end of a video, the viewer has an opportunity to support The Humane Society of the United States’ work. As a non-profit organization, fundraising through its online videos is an important means of securing the funding to continue its important work. The Humane Society of the United States‘ videos highlight the organization’s work across multiple animal welfare issues, and the content is used not only to promote the organization and generate issue awareness, but also to secure the necessary funds to create or continue its programs.
“It’s very costly to put a large team into the field for weeks to take on a puppy mill. You’re taking on the responsibility of caring for 400-500 dogs,” Loftus said. “It’s expensive for us to go and accomplish that. We utilize our videos to recoup some of those costs, so we can do more rescues. Brightcove helps us inspire that financial support from people who care about animals.”