Lights, Camera, Career! Brightcove Platform Helps ThinkTalk Networks Connect Students and Employers
ThinkTalk Networks creates interactive programming for college students. Students interview high-profile professionals about their career paths. Program guests include actors, authors, CEOs, directors, entrepreneurs, journalists and politicians. Each free, 28-minute educational program is distributed once per week to more than 200 participating colleges. ThinkTalk also hosts a growing online career community where students can ask questions of upcoming guests, chat with human resources professionals and interact with other students across the country who have similar career interests. Students can register and log in to ask questions via webcam or email. ThinkTalk then integrates the best questions into its programming.
The students’ ability to create these mini-videos using Brightcove is an extremely unique feature of the platform.We’ve received a lot of compliments from students on how easy it is to post questions and share the videos with their friends. This sharing option benefits both them and us.”
Chief Executive Officer and Founder of ThinkTalk Network
ThinkTalk’s primary video strategy began in 2003, relying on DVD distribution to colleges across the country. Due to the poor quality and undependable nature of online video distribution technology at the time, only short preview clips were hosted on ThinkTalk’s website. Over the years, as online video technology improved and consumption rates increased, ThinkTalk recognized an opportunity to connect with more students across multiple networks and platforms. ThinkTalk revised its online video strategy to provide better content access and engage a larger audience. This strategy required an online video platform capable of hosting full episodes, with online streaming and an optional social media sharing function for its tech-savvy customer base.
Brightcove online video platform, December 2008.
- Created new viewing and sharing opportunities
- Facilitated new syndication opportunities
- Increased revenue through sponsorship opportunities
Simple, Accessible, Advanced
Additional sharing and viewing opportunities
High-profile guests are a major draw to ThinkTalk’s programming. One of the network’s most popular shows – “Director’s Cut” – helps students begin their filmmaking careers by offering information and insight on the industry from interviews with Oscar-winning directors such as Brad Bird, Richard Linklater and Gavin Hood. Additional programs feature interviews with authors, journalists, screenwriters and women in business. Subjects range from tips for resumes and interviews to spotlight features on high-profile guests such as Jerry Bruckheimer, Russell Simmons and Emile Hirsch.
ThinkTalk’s primary audience is the college-age demographic, known for its love of technology and social networking. In order to align its online video strategy with the audience’s online habits, ThinkTalk focused on easily accessible online file hosting via the web, including social media channels like Facebook. Using Brightcove, YouTube and downloadable video files, students browsing online can find ThinkTalk videos through search engines, niche blogs and other sources beyond their college TV stations.
“We take questions from students all over the country,” said Stephen Clark, chief executive officer and founder of ThinkTalk Network. “Our video strategy is to expand our video delivery to online, mobile and any other format that reaches students where they’re watching video.”
ThinkTalk relies on the Brightcove platform to incorporate many of the students’ questions directly into its programming. Students can record their questions for upcoming guests via webcam or mobile and easily upload their videos to the Brightcove player on the site. The questions are then reviewed and sorted by ThinkTalk staff members, and the best questions are included in interviews with guests.
The success of this interactive video strategy had led ThinkTalk to expand sharing opportunities for content, allowing students to search for video clips featuring their questions and use Brightcove’s simple sharing functions to post to their Facebook pages or embed ThinkTalk videos on their blogs.
“The students’ ability to create these mini-videos using Brightcove is an extremely unique feature of the platform,” Clark said. “We’ve received a lot of compliments from students on how easy it is to post questions and share the videos with their friends. This sharing option benefits both them and us.”
ThinkTalk is now working to increase opportunities for content syndication across both mobile and niche websites. Clark notes that many of its videos with interview questions and tips could be beneficial for students to access while waiting to conduct their own job interviews. The opportunity to review potential questions on their mobile devices could provide them with last-minute insights to help secure a job.
Niche websites focused on acting, directing, business or careers will soon be able to syndicate shorter, five-minute versions of ThinkTalk programs through the Brightcove platform. Clark hopes these videos will reach students where they may already be searching for information. By targeting distribution to these sites, ThinkTalk seeks to develop information portals and mini social networks around specific topics and communities.
Increased revenue opportunities
ThinkTalk’s video content also engages companies to sponsor content in exchange for financial program underwriting. Some companies are interested in repurposing ThinkTalk video content, while others are looking to recruit more talented students. Students benefit from learning about career opportunities from respected employers, and companies benefit by generating talent leads from students seeking entry-level positions.
Fins.com, an online career resource for jobs in finance, technology or sales and marketing by the Wall Street Journal, has begun sponsoring a segment on ThinkTalk and taking questions from students. In return through Brightcove, ThinkTalk provides Fins.com with video assets and student clips to repurpose for its Facebook page, Twitter account and website.
“We’re always looking to get inside tips for students to help jump-start their careers,” Clark said. “We liked Fins.com’s humorous and comprehensive approach to job searching. In return, we used Brightcove to provide them with video to drive customers, media and potential employees to their website.”
Many large corporations are looking to generate awareness for diversity initiatives and other opportunities that recruit college students for employment. ThinkTalk has become an important tool for recruiting, and now companies can repurpose ThinkTalk video content for their own websites and social networks via the Brightcove platform.
“We’re getting sponsorship and at the same time building assets for corporations,” Clark said. “We’re combining two things: careers plus video assets that corporations find essential for today’s talent development and recruitment needs.”