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Video and Massive Quantities of 'Big Data'

Video and Massive Quantities of 'Big Data'

Earlier this month, Brightcove's chief marketing officer Jeff Whatcott spoke at the Beet.TV Leadership Summit, where the conversation centered on the topic of "big data," its influence on digital media and how to best take advantage of all of the information associated with video assets. This is an issue that we know our customers confront on a daily basis. In conjunction with the Beet.TV event, I sat down with Ashraf AlKarmi, vice president of product management for our Video Cloud platform, to learn more about "big data" from his perspective. Below is an excerpt of our conversation.

Q: When you think about "big data" and Brightcove Video Cloud, what are the immediate themes that come to mind?
A: First, I like to think of our data story beyond the confinements of "big data" and instead in terms of metrics and dimensions. At Brightcove, we're more concerned with helping our customers to simplify the massive amounts of data that their video assets create. More than any other media type, video creates a tremendous amount of data. Think about only one session of video and consider the interactions that are taking place in that instance alone: buffering or re-buffering, fast forwarding, changing audio levels or muting audio and more. All of these activities create data--and all of it can help content owners to understand the end-viewer experience.

Q: And why is simplifying this data to understand the end-viewer experience so critical for Brightcove customers?
A: It's tremendously important to understand the viewing experiences of your key audiences. Our customers need to understand whether people were engaged with the video and why they were engaged. In order to make informed business decisions, our customers need data. Combine that need for data with the amount of data that we have from our Brightcove players, and it's clear why a platform that collects, stores and visualizes online video data is integral to sound business decision-making.

Q: You mentioned video metrics and dimensions earlier. How are those classified and how does this data benefit viewers ultimately?
A: Video metrics are things such as video views, video impressions and viewed minutes. Dimensions are broader--i.e. location, device, operating system or HTML5 vs. Flash. In my view, our customers need to be able to break down each metric by a dimension to make useful decisions about their video content. For example, a lot of our customers struggle with whether or not their content is successful because the page views might be stellar, but the video views aren't as high. So how do you show that, and visualize it in a simple, actionable way? Another thing that customers struggle with is that they can see the data, but they're unsure if it represents good or bad performance. The ability to see your success rates compared to others' helps tremendously. By enabling our customers to understand how a specific video is performing across iOS, Android and Roku--not just in terms of views but in terms of engagement--then we're delivering actionable information that empowers our customers to make strategic content decisions, such as where to place content, which devices to build applications for and more.

Q: Can you explain Brightcove's view on engagement?
A: We've created a concept called the engagement score. What this score represents is simply how engaged audiences are with a video. We then calculate an account average. By merely looking at individual video scores and comparing them to the average, our customers can tell how specific videos are doing and then take action. For example, they can promote the best ones and remove the poor performers. What is interesting about this concept is that you don't have to be a business analyst to receive or understand this information.

Q: How do we empower our customers with this data?
A: Soon, we'll offer our customers the ability to understand how their video content is faring against the video content of others in their industry. Our view is that everybody within an organization needs data to do their job well, and everyone within an organization is an analyst. So, our task is to deliver enough data so that it's useful, but also mine for the most important information so that it's not completely overwhelming. Our tools are breaking down the barriers between business analysts and other members of customer organizations. We make it easy to drill down into the information that is most important to each customer. For example, if you're primarily concerned with views, then that information is at your fingertips. If you want to understand viewing habits by city or domain, we can aggregate and break down that data for you as well. We want to ensure that through a simple user interface, our users can quickly access the data they need to help them to meet their marketing and business goals.

Thanks to Ashraf for being our interview subject this week! If you have specific questions about our measurement and analytics capabilities, please leave them in the comments section.