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Mobile Video First

Eric Schmidt, Chief Executive of the world's largest, best known, search engine Google, has a new rule: Mobile First.  Borrowing heavily from his position I'm all about extending that to be more accurate: Mobile Video First.

Mobile devices are here to stay, video is here to stay, mobile video is here to stay.    For content producers and aggregators alike the next major paradigm shift in connected video is upon us.   We all hummed and hawed around the 3-screen strategy, even attempting to service it rather ad-hocly.  However now our hand is being forced with the serious emergence of mobile video.  It's no longer just about refactoring PC-targeted content for the mobile, or treating the content set separately.   Now we need to create and deliver content to both device types in a way that will build scale and revenue opportunities, not suck more from our wallets.   And with ConnectedTVs just around the corner it makes sense to take another look at the whole picture again.

With the iPad launching this Saturday and major players like Samsung (who own over 50% of the global television market share) bringing ConnectedTV offerings to market en masse abstract concepts in the minds of engineers are fast becoming a reality.   They will now be physical consumer goods that will demand, on behalf of their users, more and more content be delivered to them in relevant engaging ways. 

Punters across the globe are starting to clamour for real uses cases:

  • Let me watch my Television while accessing series info and cast gossip on my iPhone
  • Let me browse VOD / Live shows on my laptop and tee them up for me to view them on the Television that night
  • Let my wife watch a series of Sex in the City from the couch and buy the clothes seen in the show via the laptop
  • Let me watch part of a video on a television and have it be available immediately for continuation on my mobile device

These are all solvable problems using current technology: our iPhoneSDK + BEML + MediaAPI is just one integration that can bung out a solution for most, if not all of the above.  Or what about bringing in our HTML5/FP101. support and new Brightcove Alliance Partners like Boxee to bring mobile and ConnectedTVs?   It's all there on your plate - let's get started!   If only it was that easy... 

Let's just remember: Technology is the Enabler, not the Definer.

The trick is not in the content, it transcends the Screen Onion (mobile -> PC -> TV) seamlessly.   It's all about the application of that content, the experience for each of the layers that is important - and how they interact with each other at the different tier boundaries.

You need to build for all 3 layers in a connected way.   How will my mobile experience build up to the PC and then again to the TV?   What features are specific to each and how can they complement each other.   Want the ultimate user stickiness?   Transcend the devices! 

Brightcove has long pushed the idea that Video Initiatives need to be more about just delivering video to the end user - in some cases it's our Raison d'Etre.  It's about the experience that you supply around that video consumption, to keep a user connected to your content in a way that lets you make real money from the experience - a value exchange between a user's engagement (and possibly wallet in newer TVE scenarios) and the cost of providing the video .   That's our strength - we take care of getting top quality video to the end point and give you the tools to create engaging and relevant user experiences.  Any Joe-Schmoe can put a video on a website - that's sooooo 1998.

But don't get embroiled in the industry's chaotic chatter about HTML5 vs Flash 10.1, iPad success predictions, iPhone vs Android etc.   Really, outside of the Technocrati circles, who cares?   All we want is to back the sure winner.  That's the hidden benefit that you get from a service like Brightcove.   Trusted advisors who do the hard slog so you don't have to.   (We put the Service in Software as a Service!)

What you need to do is realign your mind set and start looking at the 3 screens as one cohesive scalable and monetisable concept.   Borrowing, again, from a well known timeless strategy, consider it a holy trinity of sorts - 3 immutable spins of the same content; defined completely by it's environment - the sum of the parts will be much greater than the whole.

It all starts at the Mobile Video First - the center layer of the onion.   Create experiences that start at the mobile level, that move up to the PC and onto the Television using both value upsell proposals and connected links.   Consider what is the strength of the mobile experience is for your business?  Or the PC? Or the TV?   How can they link together to compliment each other.    How can they create build positive interference, driving more engagement, more branding and more monetisation opportunity?

Just start with Mobile Video First.

-- Cameron Church